Two of the world’s biggest lovers of lightweight driver’s cars could be teaming up to create an electric vehicle.
The two companies will look into whether it’s feasible to engineer, design, develop, and build an all-electric sports car using Lotus facilities in the UK and Alpine facilities in France.
Should it get off the ground, the car would join the all-electric Evija in the Lotus range, and become the first electric Alpine.
It will also pull Alpine, which is part of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, closer to Chinese carmaker Geely, which owns Lotus. Call it an Anglo-Franco-Sino tie-up, then.
The two will also look into pooling their motorsports experience together, leveraging Alpine’s current Formula 1 program and looking at Formula E and endurance racing.
The new MoU with Lotus is the latest step in Renault’s plan to make Alpine more than a one-model niche brand.
Cyril Abiteboul earlier this week announced he is stepping down from his post as head of Alpine.
The surprising departure comes after Renault committed to an expansion of its sports car brand and announced it was rebranding its Formula 1 team as Alpine.
Taking over from Abiteboul is Laurent Rossi, who will be the new head of the Alpine brand and all of its motorsport activity.
Rossi is currently Renault’s strategy and business development director.
Given Rossi doesn’t have any direct F1 experience, it’s possible someone could be appointed to take over as head of the Alpine F1 operation while Rossi manages the production car business.
Abiteboul had been in charge of Renault’s F1 team since 2014 and appointed head of Alpine last year by new Renault boss Luca de Meo, where he was given the target to break even within four years.
As part of a new operating plan for Renault announced last year by de Meo, the Alpine name will descend to lower altitudes.
Luca de Meo has first-hand experience with this, having left his role as head of Seat to become Renault’s CEO.
“As I did with Cupra, I will find a point of contact between the Alpine brand and some Renault models,” Mr de Meo said last year.
“We need to be credible on that, so I’m not going to do that with Kangoo or Espace – I’m going to do that with things that fit the positioning of the brand.”
Renault wants to heavily publicise the link between its Alpine-branded motorsport efforts and production cars.