Two companies that are both defined by the relentless pursuit to do away with any and all unnecessary weight in their sports cars will soon be working together with nickel, cobalt, and lithium and taking a shot at electrification. That’s right, Lotus and Alpine are collaborating on an electric sports car, and believe it or not, this is great news for the EV world. At the moment, one of the main problems with electric vehicles is they weigh significantly more than their internal combustion engine counterparts. Lotus and Alpine, both experts in lightweight sports cars of old, could very well change that calculus.
You see, power and torque can make up for extra vehicle heft in a straight line, but in every other performance aspect—so, turning and braking—weight can be a real drag. Lightweight, handling-focused, and relatively low-output sports cars such as the Alpine A110 and the Lotus Evora GT are a dying breed, but applying Lotus founder Colin Chapman’s mantra “simplify, then add lightness” to a two-seat EV might breathe new life into what is currently a very niche sports car market, assuming that’s what Lotus and Alpine seem likely to do.
Lotus is already hard at work on the Evija, a 2,000-hp all-electric hypercar that won’t be sold in the U.S. Alpine, for its part, is now part sports car maker and part Formula 1 team. So, the two teaming up for an EV project seems like a very good starting point, and hopefully some of what Alpine learns on track will make its way into something we can get behind the wheel of. And just think of the carbon-fiber and other materials know-how F1 development could bring to an electric road car.
Of course, all of these plans are in their nascent stages. The partnership between the two sports car heavyweights (pun intended) represented little more than a footnote in Renault Group’s major news blast yesterday that outlined plans for the company’s foreseeable future. It also officially introduced the Alpine Formula 1 team to the world—the team’s social accounts were rebranded, and the F1 race car’s official winter livery was shown for the first time. While Formula 1 news is all fine and good, what matters more to consumers and car enthusiasts, we think, is the possibility that this partnership between Alpine and Lotus brings to the EV space.