New Alpine A110 E-Ternité showcases first electric sports car project
All-electric 240bhp A110 being trialled by Alpine as it embarks on an all-new sports EV co-developed with Lotus
While Alpine and Lotus continue to work in the background on their combined electric sports car project, the French manufacturer has presented a fully fledged electric A110 ahead of this weekend’s French Grand Prix.
Taking the battery and motors from Renault’s new Megane E-Tech the A110 E-Ternité is a 240bhp, 221lb ft mid-engined sports car with a target weight of 1320kg and performance on a par with the four-cylinder petrol engined A110s, albeit with a lower range of of around 260 miles (down from 341 miles claimed for a petrol model).
Currently, Alpine is calling the E-Ternité a prototype, of which it has built two – one for R&D work the other to showcase a range of new materials and design elements – but don’t be surprised if the next round of updates for the retro-coupe include a handful of these changes, including both the electrified powertrain and removable roof panel.
To accommodate the 392kg 60kW battery pack Alpine has split the battery’s twelve modules and created unique battery casings in order for them to be positioned within the A110’s chassis. Four are positioned at the front of the car and eight at the rear. The net weight gain of the electric motor and battery is 258kg over the ICE equivalent, with weight distribution moving by one percentage point front (43 down to 42) and rear (57 up to 58).
Drive is sent to the rear wheels via a two-speed double clutch gearbox developed in-house by Alpine, allowing the electrified A110 to reach 62mph in a claimed 4.5-seconds and top out at 155mph, which is only 0.1sec behind its ICE-powered relatives.
> Alpine's EV ambitions revealed
While the double-wishbone suspension front and rear is retained, the rear lower arm has been reinforced and spring rates increased from 47N/mm and 90N/mm at the front and to 50N/mm and 130N/mm at the rear, with a softer rear anti-roll bar fitted. Öhlins dampers have also been fitted to the prototype, replacing the ICE car’s Mando units. Wheels and tyres remain unchanged, running 18-inch diameter wheels with 215/40 and 245/40 tyres front to rear.
Along with a new electric powertrain Alpine, has also used its new prototype to showcase a few choice updates to the A110, namely a new infotainment system and sterem. However, it’s the removable roof panel that will answer the requests by many wishing to enjoy their A110 as an open-top car. This wasn’t a clear-cut exercise, as the roof forms a key part of the aluminium chassis structure, so the solution Alpine has come up with is a pair of loft-out carbon shell panels.
Currently Alpine refers to the E-Ternité as a prototype to showcase its future direction as an electric vehicle specialist. However, the lengths that have been taken are considerable for a project like the E-Ternité, given the need to develop technology that’s already being used in other vehicles within the group. And there’s also the small matter of its collaboration with Lotus, which is still some way off from seeing the light of day and will share little, if anything with the current A110 other than its external design to allow the Alpine to bask in its retro glory.
Therefore, expect a limited run of A110 Es to appear during the current car’s lifetime, most likely as a low volume halo model, and for that removable roof panel and the interior updates to be integrated on production models sooner rather than later.