Update: ‘Battery & Motor’ section updated.
The all-electric Alpine SUV teased in January 2021 now has a name – Alpine GT X-Over. The electric SUV belongs to the ‘Alpine Dream Garage,’ which is a trio of EVs. In June 2021, Luca de Meo, CEO, Renault Group, confirmed that the first of these three EVs will come out in 2024. However, as you’ll learn in the Production section of the story, he wasn’t referring to the GT X-Over.
The Alpine Dream Garage we unveiled in January is coming actually true starting 2024, and I can’t really wait to see some electric Alpines on the road.Luca de Meo, CEO, Renault Group (Renault eWays ElectroPop 2021)
Alpine, an ‘Avant-garde’ vehicle specialist of the Renault Group, revealed the first teaser of its upcoming models in the Renaulution corporate presentation in January 2021. The silhouettes of its 3-member portfolio confirmed an electric sports car (successor for the Alpine A110), an electric SUV (now known as GT X-Over), and a B-segment electric hot-hatchback.
The second teaser of the Alpine GT X-Over Renault Group revealed during the Renault eWays ElectroPop in June 2021 clearly indicated that it will have a silhouette that combines the typical characteristics of a coupe. This picture showed the Alpine SUV featuring a coupe-inspired roof that drops down steeply to the rear and flows into steeply raked D-pillars, which results in a flattish rear deck.
Alpine, which has been given the blessing of Renault Group boss de Meo to re-invent itself into a performance division, has a new target to be profitable by 2025. To this extent, the firm has partnered with Geely-owned Lotus to work together in a number of areas including the development of its new sports car. It would be reasonable to expect the learnings from this partnership to spill over to the Alpine GT X-Over. Lotus is developing a crossover of its own, with a working title of Lotus Type 132.
Range & CMF-EV platform
The GT X-Over will sit on the CMF-EV platform, which underpins the Nissan Ariya and the Renault Megane E-Tech Electric. Renault Group has filed over 300 patents on the CMF-EV platform.
Like the Megane E-Tech, the Alpine SUV should feature a heat pump that also allows the driver to heat the vehicle’s cabin, reducing the energy consumption of the HVAC system to improve the driving range in cold weather.
As for the range, an Alpine model must get the best possible specifications, and Laurence Excoffon, Alliance Platforms Leader, Renault Group, revealed at the Renault eWays ElectroPop that the CMF-EV platform can offer a range of 580 km (360 miles) in WLTP.
The first benefit of this platform is the range. Indeed the CMF-EV platform offer a range up to 580 km in WLTP with a very low energy consumption. We can offer this performance thanks to a reduction of friction from braking, bearing, entire rolling resistance, a weight reduction – we achieve about 100 kg less than the closest competitor – and a specific energy management, so-called Energy Recovery System. This system is transferring battery calorie to the cockpit and reduce electric heating consumption for cabin comfort. Combined with the heat pump and the thermal insulation of the battery, the range increases by 5% in cold condition.Laurence Excoffon, Alliance Platforms Leader, Renault Group (Renault eWays ElectroPop 2021)
Battery & Motor
The Alpine GT X-Over will likely feature the ‘slimline’ batteries, which are built into the structure of the CMF-EV platform. de Meo has told the media that these batteries are the ‘flattest in the market.’ They help the crossover achieve superior aerodynamics, which would be key for the performance-oriented Alpine electric SUV.
Auto-moto reports that the Alpine electric SUV will get four-wheel drive, while its battery should offer a capacity of at least 90 kWh. It speculates that the Alpine SUV would be about 4.6 m long, matching the Nissan Ariya. The motor output would be between 400-500 hp, enough mettle to compete with the Porsche Macan EV.
Gilles le Borgne, EVP – Engineering, Renault Group, had told Auto Express in 2021 that it is developing a tri-motor powertrain for the Alpine SUV. With a 215 bhp (160 kW) motor at the front and two motors at the rear, the British publication is expecting a system power of approximately 450 bhp (336 kW). The dual rear motors will enable torque vectoring, making the SUV fun around the corners, as each rear motor sends torque directly to the respective wheel. Moreover, electric torque vectoring will make driving on snow-covered and icy roads safer.
The battery pack of the Alpine SUV will likely come from Verkor. Renault Group has taken over a 20% stake in the French start-up and will co-develop high-performance low-carbon batteries which it can use in C and higher segment Renault models and Alpine models. The duo will develop a pilot production line in France for battery cells and module prototyping this year. If all goes as per the plan, four years later, from 2026, Verkor will build the first gigafactory for high-performance batteries in the country. It will have an initial capacity of 10 GWh for the Renault Group.
In 2021, Renault Group started using what it calls “Gen1 Performance” cells in the battery of the Renault Megane E-Tech Electric. The Megane E-Tech Electric’s maximum WLTP range is 300 km (186 miles) in the 40 kWh variant and 470 km (280 miles) in the 60 kWh variant. Then, by 2024, it will introduce an evolution of this technology called “Gen2 Performance” for sports cars, presumably including the Alpine GT X-Over, reaching a 700 Wh/L density at the cell level. Sophie Schmidtlin, VP Research & Advanced Engineering, Renault Group, revealed these details on the company’s future battery cell technology at the Renault eWays ElectroPop 2021 event.
Manufacturing of the Alpine GT X-Over has gone to the Usine Alpine Dieppe (Alpine Dieppe Factory), now called ‘Manufacture Alpine Dieppe Jean Rédélé’ to commemorate the founder of the brand. The French factory will undergo changes to adapt to the CMF-EV platform. The Alpine electric SUV will be the first EV built in Normandy (France), and production will start by 2025.
The batteries for the vehicle will likely come from the Envision AESC gigafactory in Douai. Renault Group expects two-thirds of EV demand in Europe to come from France, the UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain, and so, expect these markets to be the main targets for the SUV.
Alpine is expected to keep the price of the SUV realistic, as it is seeking more volumes, and become profitable by 2025. We expect the price of the Alpine GT X-Over to begin at around EUR 60,000.
Alpine sales improve in 2021
Though the numbers are modest, Alpine has witnessed substantial growth in 2021 with 2,695 units sold, experiencing a 74% increase in sales compared to 2020. In France alone, Alpine’s jumped 117% compared to the previous year, according to the brand’s sales report dated 17 January 2022. The company sells one model – the A110 two-door sportscar – in three versions – standard, S, and GT.
Sales were strong across Europe, with 92% increase in the UK, 24% rise in the DACH market (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), 79% growth in Italy and 120% in Spain and Portugal. The brand plans to expand its footprint by adding 50 more dealerships across Europe, in addition to its existing network of 100 dealerships in France and neighbouring countries.
Germany is the second most popular destination for Alpine cars with 214 units sold. The UK is third in the list with 202 cars sold followed by Belgium and Luxembourg combining for 130 units. Exports outside of the European Union also witnessed 10% growth with 220 units being sold in other global regions.
Featured Image Source: Renault Group