Alpine has taken the wraps off a hypercar concept that signals the design direction the French performance marque will take for future road and racing models.
With its hydrogen powertrain, the concept also serves as a vision for a potential clean future for motorsports.
The concept is called the Alpenglow, the name borrowed from the reddish glow that often appears on the snow-covered peaks of the Alps around sunrise and sunset. It's a single-seater that looks to combine elements from race cars that compete in Formula 1 and top-level endurance racing, two categories where you find Alpine competing today.
The similarity to an endurance racer in particular is no surprise. Alpine is developing an LMDh sports prototype for an assault on the World Endurance Championship starting in 2024, and the automaker has confirmed the new race car will draw on the Alpenglow's design.
For Alpine's future road cars, look for elements like the wheel pattern, square-shaped steering wheel, and front light signature to transition to production. The light signature is a modern take on Alpine's traditional headlight arrangement of four individual units, and a toned down version of it is expected to feature on Alpine's GT X-Over crossover due in 2025.
The crossover is one of three electric vehicles Alpine has in the works. The others include a hot hatch related to the upcoming Renault 5, which we'll see in 2024, and a sports car to replace the A110, Alpine's sole product at present. The sports car is being developed in partnership with Lotus and is due around 2026. None of Alpine's vehicles are headed to the U.S.
3 Alpine electric cars teased during presentation on June 30, 2021
Alpine also said the “generous, chiseled shapes” of the concept hint at the silhouettes of future road cars from the brand, and the concepts use of carbon fiber, including recycled carbon fiber, will be another aspect that transfers to the world of production.
Alpine didn't provide much detail on the Alpenglow's powertrain, apart from the concept featuring a rear-mounted internal-combustion engine running on hydrogen. The same setup featured in a student-designed hypercar concept Alpine showed in March.
Internal-combustion engines can be made to burn hydrogen with very little modification, with the resulting emissions mostly being water. A handful of automakers, including Alpine, sees this as a solution for motorsport in a world of zero-emissions, when the hydrogen is generated in a sustainable manner. Other automakers backing the idea include Porsche and Toyota.