Lotus and Alpine Scrap Joint All-Electric Sports Car Program

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Despite Alpine and Lotus having previously indicated plans to jointly develop a successor to the A110 sports coupe, reports have emerged stating that all work on the project has stopped. With both companies vowing to go electric, the partnership was supposed to help both companies benefit from their performance expertise.

An announcement was made in 2021, explaining that the duo wanted to build a lightweight electric sports car together. It was later revealed that the resulting automobile would be the likely replacement for the A110. A possible twin could have similarly been slotted in as a spiritual successor for some of the smaller Lotus coupes that have gone missing in recent years.

But it’s not happening, with Lotus having confirmed that the joint development program has been scrapped.

“We have decided not to progress with the joint development of a sports car for Alpine. This is a mutual decision reached amicably,” Lotus told Automotive News Europe this week.

From Automotive News:

Bloomberg reported on Friday that Renault was considering using its own technology to develop future Alpine models rather than working with Lotus.
However, Lotus, which is majority owned by China’s Geely, hinted that the two companies could collaborate on other future models. “We have built a strong relationship between the two companies and will continue to discuss other opportunities,” Lotus said on Monday in its statement.
Renault and Geely are collaborating in other ventures, including a combustion-engine company called Horse and production of vehicles at Renault’s factory in Busan, South Korea.

The outlet noted that Alpine needs premium electric platforms on which to build larger SUV models aimed at global markets, including the United States, and Geely has some at its disposal. Lotus likewise has the all-electric Eletre SUV that represents new ground for the brand. It’s certainly not what one expects to see from a company that has historically specialized in lightweight screamers. But it’s difficult to make EVs exceptionally lithe and SUVs are what the market seems to prefer right now.

Lotus said it is still looking for partners to scale its premium electric platform used for the Eletre and an upcoming performance sedan. But it’s unclear how large of a role Alpine/Renault will play. The electrified Type 135 (the car that would have doubled as the successor to the Alpine A110) is reportedly still in development as a more-direct successor to the Elise and Exige. However, the French brand doesn’t appear to have a role in the project anymore.

Alpine is instead focusing on delivering a hardcore version of the Renault 5 small EV in the second half of 2024. It is supposed to be followed by a sporty compact SUV using a highly modified version of a Renault-Nissan platform presumed to be the CMF-EV.

The brand has also said it wanted to break into North America in the coming years, where smaller vehicles and low-range EVs tend to be less appreciated. Perhaps Alpine thought that putting resources behind a pint-sized electric coupe wouldn’t be the best way to spend its resources at this juncture.

[Image: FernandoV/Shutterstock]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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Join the conversation
  • FreedMike FreedMike on May 25, 2023

    I think Lotus should go all in on the sub program. Wait, they already did...

    comment photo
  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on May 25, 2023

    Somebody came to their senses, thankfully.

    • See 2 previous
    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on May 26, 2023

      @Paul Alexander:

      What I mean is - Small, niche mfrs will destroy the product and the company by spending exorbitant resources on EVs. In this case, a sporty EV would have very short range, but a usable EV won't be sporty like its predecessors - something Lotus and Alpine have built their reputations on.

      Worse in the long run: low volumes mean a niche mfr can never achieve economies of scale with an EV. Heck, Lotus has historically flirted with insolvency just building regular ICEs.

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