Here is undoubtedly a model that marks a new era at Alpine, that of the electric car. Two years before the official presentation of its small electric sports car, Alpine unveils a showcar called Alpine A290_β which announces, in broad outline, what the electric Renault R5 will be in a sports version, signed Alpine. We boarded and were able to touch the beast.
The electric Alpine has been talked about for several months, if not a few years, since the famous “Renaulution” initiated by Luca de Meo a year after his arrival at the head of the Renault group.
At the time of writing these lines, Alpine has only one model in its range with the A110, a fully thermal car and available in several special versions. Over the next few years, Alpine will benefit from a real range, with international ambitions. The French manufacturer intends in particular to attack the United States and China, with several electric SUVs.
But before electric SUVs and the replacement for the electric A110 (which will be developed in collaboration with Lotus), Alpine’s first electric car will be a city car that will be based on the foundations of the future electric Renault 5 with the CMF-B EV platform.
Small but strong
Alpine’s first electric model is expected in 2025 and will be called A290. In the meantime, the French manufacturer is unveiling the A290_β (A290 “beta”) showcar. The A290_β respects the naming strategy of the Dieppe firm comprising an A followed by three digits. The number “2” corresponds to the B segment and the number “90” to the brand’s future “lifestyle” range. Finally, the letter Beta of the Greek alphabet is used to designate an intermediate stage of development before the official launch of the production car.
Let’s start with the aesthetic part. As you can see in the photos, the Alpine A290 looks a lot like the concept car of the electric Renault 5, some might even say a little too much, even if, of course, it is adorned with very specific aesthetic attributes, starting with those huge 20-inch rims that impress on such a small model.
The concept is long 4.05 meters, for a width of 1.85 meters and a height of 1.48 meters. The short wheelbase promises great driving sensations, while the brand has confirmed that the style of the car is 85% that of the final version presented in about two years.
Certain aerodynamic elements will no doubt fall by the wayside, but the work done around these elements is quite impressive for such a small car. For example, the shield has large air intakes to improve both penetration and cooling. On the lower side and under the front headlights, other air inlets have been integrated. The most geeky may have noticed a little nod to the world of gaming with visible battery fans reminiscent of those of PCs dedicated to video games.
You may have noticed it in the photos, but the aluminum rims of the Alpine A290_β are quite specific and foreshadow the rims of the future production car. They are rimmed with specific tires developed exclusively for this model with Michelin, except that the rims of the production version will be 19 inches and the rubbers will therefore be smaller than on the showcar.
A cockpit oriented for the track
Let’s now move on to the interior, with a rather spectacular cabin which, of course, won’t have much to do with the serial version. The seat and the central layout of the driver’s compartment will be replaced by something more conventional with four real seats.
Everything is taken to the extreme with, in particular, bucket seats with a 100% raw carbon structure, Sabelt racing safety harnesses and the strangely shaped and very sporty steering wheel.
The driver also has a helmet equipped with a display system which communicates to him, live, all the information for use on the circuit: the potential flags displayed by the marshals, the track conditions, information on other cars etc
All this announces in particular the arrival of fairly advanced telemetry systems on the production model, especially for customers who will use it on the track. Like track mode at Tesla.
A four-wheel drive electric sports car?
Regarding technical information, we do not yet know much about the final version, except that it will be based on the CMF-B EV platform of the electric R5. The Alpine A290 will also be manufactured in the same factory as Renault’s electric city car, in Douai, in the north of France.
Alpine specifies however that the A290_β benefits from Torque Vectoring technology, which makes it possible to separately control the torque transmitted to each of the wheels, in particular to accentuate the dynamism of the car. The production model should not adopt it (since it requires four engines), but the French brand announces that ” the production car will also be equipped with a torque management system, adapted to its design“.
Like the electric R5, the Alpine will be equipped with a multi-link rear axle guaranteeing a good compromise between dynamism and comfort. The engineers will also work on the running gear, suspensions, steering and brakes to make a real difference with the R5.
On the showcar, the ABS is adjusted via 11 positions, with different reactions depending on the grip on the ground. Three driving modes dedicated to the track are also offered: “wet”, “dry” and “full”. These driving modes should be carried over to the production car.
The electric Renault 5 will be traction, that is to say with a motor positioned at the level of the front axle. This architecture also makes it possible to integrate a second electric motor at the rear, can thus make it a four-wheel drive. If the electric R5 will undoubtedly remain a traction, the Alpine should benefit from an all-wheel drive.
More than 200 hp and 400 km of autonomy?
As far as power and battery are concerned, Alpine has not yet communicated on this subject, but we can nevertheless draw a first sketch of the future electric Alpine.
Like the R5, the A290 will integrate a new battery pack, better integrated into the platform, which saves space, but also better contributes to the rigidity of the structure and the reduction of vibrations. The architecture is simplified with the passage of 12 modules, as on the Zoé battery, with four large modules allowing a weight reduction of 15 kg. The pack should also be relatively thin, since Renault announces that there will be only one level of modules.
Even if Alpine does not advance any figures, our colleagues from Argus distilled some interesting information for the R5 which should be similar for the Alpine. According to them, there will be two batteries for the R5: 42 and 52 kWh. The A290 should carry the largest battery guaranteeing approximately 400km according to the WLTP cycle. If the R5 should benefit from a power between 100 and 150 hp, the Alpine A290 should exceed 200 hp.
As for prices, the electric R5 will start at 25,000 euros, but it will probably take around 35,000 for a high-end version. For the Alpine, a base price of around 40,000 euros would not be surprisingespecially since its main competitor, the electric Abarth, starts from 43,000 euros.