Published on October 14th, 2022 | by Subhash Nair0
The Alpine Alpenglow Concept Previews A Hydrogen-Powered Sportscar
The Alpine Alpenglow previews the future of the French sportscar brand.
The Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance has had some mixed success with reviving old brands. They famously flopped trying to bring Datsun back as a budget-oriented brand for the mass market. However, their work reviving Alpine has been seen as sustainable and relatively successful. With just one model on sale and a competitive midfield F1 team, Alpine’s future looks promising and its fanbase is only growing.
And just like Lotus, Alpine knows it can’t keep making petrol-powered, lightweight sports cars forever – they have to eventually inject some electric into their portfolio. That’s why today they unveiled the Alpine Alpenglow Concept, which might be powered by an internal combustion hydrogen engine built with expertise from the BWT Alpine F1 team, HYVIA and Renault Group.
Hydrogen-powered engines are one of the few ‘clean’ mobility solutions that some automakers are exploring as an alternative to battery electric vehicle and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. They emit nothing but steam
The ‘Alpenglow’ name was inspired by the reddish glow over the mountains just before sunrise. It is a single-seater race car for the streets. The driver sits in the centre, between two hydrogen tanks.
Check out the press release below for more information.
A competition-inspired cockpit
A sports car inspired by motor sports races, plus a singular, sophisticated silhouette: that is Alpine’s promise. The Alpenglow concept car’s cockpit is transparent, has a blueish hint and is helmet-shaped. You can make out the driver through it, but it merges into the car’s body.
An Alpine driving wheel
The Alpenglow concept car’s geometric steering wheel is inspired by LMP1 (Endurance) racing cars. It treats the driver to a sporty, high-performance driving experience. The Alpine identity shines through the snowflakes embedded in a central prism, with the logo in the background, which calls to mind the Alpine, mountainous universe that defines this creative, mysterious object. The paddle gear shifters are transparent and backlit, adding to the weightlessness in the lean interior, where only the experience matters. The base of the steering wheel also houses two selectors for the various built-in functions, which mirror the ones in Formula 1 and LMP1 cars. In the concept car, they control several features including Track Control and Regenerative Braking. The steering wheel also has an Overtake button unleashing a power boost. The driver has a prism-shaped ignition key that slots into the steering wheel. It completes the pyramid in the centre, which lights up as the car springs to life.
A red centre line
A red line cuts across the car lengthways. It underlines the driver’s position, at one with the car, in a central, exclusive place that connects them to the road and their surroundings.
Alpine’s new signature lights
Alpine Alpenglow’s signature lights have evolved and adopted a new look. They match with the ones on Alpine cars today, stand out on the strength of their up-to-the-minute style and might, and at the same time remain true to the brand’s identity. They are ushering in a new chapter in Alpine’s history, where passion for speed and performance are more alive than ever. The light stream starts at the front, where it is red, symbolising a comet entering the atmosphere, and works its way back, where it turns various shades of blue pointing to its hydrogen internal-combustion engine, which releases practically nothing but steam. Also at the front, triangles of light form a sprinkling of stars rising from the four headlamps, mirroring Alpine’s emblematic signature. Overall, they create an all-round impression of movement across the car’s body. The blueish lights at the rear point to the use of hydrogen. They are open, look stunning and serve a purpose, venting the steam from the hydrogen’s combustion. In contact with the air, a blue stream emerges from the clean exhaust pipes, giving the Alpenglow concept car a sporty and at the same time magical aura.
Rims that radiate Alpine’s identity
The snowflake-shaped rims on the wheels have a transparent structure and also capture something about Alpine’s identity. They transport us to the mountains. The triangle built into the centre of the wheels underscores this impression. Like the triangles in the steering wheel, the ones on the wheels contain hydrogen and have a built-in window into the Alpine logo, to attract attention to the brand’s singular signature.
A transparent, high-tech spoiler
This concept car’s spoiler is completely transparent, which effaces it and the purpose it serves. Besides being very light, it plays an essential role: as it moves, it reduces drag and increases downforce.
Generous shapes and opposing surfaces
Designed around technical and aerodynamic components, this concept cars embodies a one-of-a-kind philosophy, where form derives from function. Its silhouette was shaped around two hydrogen tanks, which envelop the body and point to Alpenglow’s sheer might.
The Alpenglow concept car’s shape optimises air flow and thereby increases aerodynamic performance. The moving surfaces, sculpted by the air, range from positive to negative, in the form of a twist. The front with the distinctive V-shape is the starting point for the red line. On the side, another line also adding character forms an air inlet and creates an aerodynamic tunnel. This concept car is cast for competition: the extremely long and slender wings are a nod to the endurance A220 from the late 1960s, which reached the ultimate heights of aerodynamics. The two tanks enhance the sides with generous, sensual contours that blend seamlessly into Alpenglow’s chiselled design.
This concept car is more than 5 metres long, over 2 metres wide and less than 1 metre high – a dream car’s proportions. It is exceedingly agile and its sculpted shapes encapsulate Alpine’s future design language.
A concept around materials that triggers sensations
Alpenglow works its magic when you approach it. The choice of colours and materials was inspired by natural elements and states, such as fire, water, ice, wind and steam. All those elements move, evolve, change when you are in contact with them. They add movement and life to Alpenglow. The opaque areas become transparent, providing a glimpse of the inner workings. The red zones representing heat are counterpointed by penetrating blue hinting at the cold weather in the Alps. The magic is hidden, and the elements appear and disappear, to unveil this object one detail at a time.
A new and more sophisticated shade of blue
The new shade of blue on the Alpenglow concept car’s body stems from Alpine’s iconic blue in motion. This blue is brighter, deeper and has a very fine pearly sheen that creates liquid effects, changing colours and shadows like the surface of a lake or ocean, and adds striking, hefty volume.
An Alpine is lightweight as a matter of course. Alpenglow is no exception – and is packed with a wealth of engineering and design expertise, making it remarkably buoyant. And, in the interest of sustainable development, recycled carbon was also used in this concept car’s design. It is all sourced from recycling streams.
The symbolic contraposition between hot and cold mirrors the contrasting materials that add up to the Alpenglow concept car’s balance. Inside, the driver finds a wraparound cockpit and a racing-inspired environment. The many transparent surfaces reveal the technology that powers this vehicle. The black components such as the suspension and steering column catch the eye.
The pedals, paddles on the steering wheel, triangles housing hydrogen, spoiler and part of the engine bonnet are transparent, revealing an ultra-high-tech universe that was out of sight for enthusiasts until now.
Fine and proud flags and logos
Alpenglow is a concept car that is proud of its origins. The blue, white and red flag on the outside and inside is a statement about where it was built and a nod at French automotive excellence and expertise. The Alpine signature is also built into the front and rear bonnets, also underlining the pride that Alpine sports cars exude.
DREAM GARAGE: AIMING HIGH AND TAKING A STAND
Alpenglow is the source of the design and technology for the future Alpine racetrack and production models. The core of the concept is passion for motor sports and the unparalleled pleasure of driving an Alpine.
The design and technologies that inspire the Dream Garage…
Building on its heritage but at the same time firmly focused on the future, the Alpine brand is at the cutting edge of innovation in the motor sports arena with Formula 1 and on roads. Its next generation of models – its Dream Garage – will comprise three exclusive and trailblazing all-electric models: a compact sports car (B segment), a GT crossover (C segment) and a A110 replacement. The driving experience in them all revolves around the driver, driving sensations and sheer pleasure.
Alpenglow’s light signature is one of the design hallmarks that will inspire the brand’s models – at the front as well as the rear.
Alpine cars will also come with an intuitive sports car steering wheel inspired by Alpenglow. The ergonomic features will be exclusive to Alpine models.
Carbon, including recycled carbon, will also be built into the upcoming cars so that they are as proudly lightweight as every Alpine before them.
The generous, chiselled shapes hint at future Alpine models’ silhouettes. The might and powerful character will be instantly recognisable in every model – as will be the snowflakes, the distinctive hallmarks that make each Alpine one of a kind.
… and racing cars
It’s unimaginable to speak about an Alpine car without touching on the spirit of competition and Alpine’s feats on tracks. Alpenglow is the embodiment of a racing car. Its shape beckons you to try it on every bend in a circuit. Its single-seater build adds to the Formula 1 feel inside, its outer silhouette points to endurance racing. The helmet-shaped windscreen is a staggering sight for every enthusiast longing to embark on this adventure. The engine at the rear and the model’s aerodynamic shape are the ultimate expressions of its motor sports soul. The future LMDh-category Alpine hypercar’s shape, headlamps and spirit will draw on Alpenglow’s spectacular personality.
ALPENGLOW AT THE CUTTING EDGE OF INNOVATION
Alpine Alpenglow is a showcase for a clean emissions future that is within reach for tomorrow’s racing cars and future Alpine vehicle generations. The excitement of driving the car is heightened by the trailblazing technology around the hydrogen internal-combustion engine, which produces the sounds that sports car enthusiasts love.
Hydrogen as a sustainable solution for clean mobility
Alpenglow is Alpine’s first step on the path to sustainable solutions for clean mobility. Mobility will combine carbon-neutral systems, tapping into the natural complementarity between vehicles running on an electric battery (BEVs), vehicles running on a fuel cell (FCEVs) and vehicles with hybrid internal-combustion engines using a sustainable fuel – possibly green hydrogen.
This is why Alpine is looking into a technology that could prefigure the brand’s racing and roadgoing cars. A hybrid hydrogen internal-combustion engine is environmentally-friendly and comes with the inimitable driving pleasure that this technology provides, including the sheer might, weightlessness and enthralling soundscape.
Combining hydrogen technology with technical expertise honed in the heat of motor sports competitions will give future vehicles the kind of performance that only racing cars can reach – while producing practically nothing besides steam and riveting engine roars.
With its two cylindrical hydrogen tanks at 700 bar, Alpenglow is as lightweight as the rest of the brand’s cars, and treats drivers to the ultimate experience as well as clean emissions.
An ecosystem around hydrogen
To develop this technology, Alpine is leveraging expertise from the Renault Group entities that have built a full ecosystem revolving around hydrogen, which includes HYVIA. Alongside the Formula 1 Grand Prix in France last July, the BWT Alpine F1 Team and HYVIA announced plans to enter into a partnership to invest together in state-of-the-art technologies and the transition to sustainable mobility.