Alpine: Renault group opts for the hydrogen engine

Alpine hydrogen engine Alpenglow Spa-Franchorchamps
Alpine: Renault group opts for the hydrogen engine

With the sports brand having just unveiled a new version of the Alpenglow at Spa-Francorchamps, Hydrogen Today takes a look at Alpine’s strategy in relation to the other entities of the French group.

Alpine is first and foremost involved in hybrid racing. The sports brand is present in Formula 1, where hybrid technology has been the rule for years, but also in endurance racing (WEC), where it joined the Hypercar category at the start of the season (alongside Peugeot, Porsche, Ferrari, etc.). As for the future, the brand is exploring the option of a combustion engine fuelled by hydrogen. This is a way of preserving engine noise (very important for fans and drivers) and vibrations.

For the moment, Alpine claims to be “learning about technology”, through the development of the Alpenglow and the engines (both the 4-cylinder from a collaboration with Oreca and the future 6-cylinder). We learned at Spa that this prototype was designed from the start to be driven and not just to be a show car. And the fact that its silhouette clearly evokes the lines of a Hypercar is a more than subliminal message. The Alpenglow would make an ideal candidate for the 2027 H2 category suggested by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest.

A solution for endurance racing and F1?

Bruno Famin, VP of Alpine Motorsports stated: “We know that hydrogen will be an essential step in decarbonising the next generations of Endurance cars, and could also be for Formula 1 cars, particularly by switching to liquid storage for greater compactness and performance. The Alpenglow prototype perfectly illustrates this, a genuine technological laboratory for developing tomorrow’s hydrogen engines.”

A small plaque inside the car, entitled “slide in to race”, displays a number of names (mainly people from Alpine, including new CEO Philippe Krief), but also Renault CEO Luca de Meo and Chief Design Officer Laurens van der Acker. This is just one way of demonstrating Renault’s support for this project at the highest level.

Different shades of hydrogen within the Renault group

But back to the strategy. Alpine is keeping the hydrogen engine for competition (and possibly for sports cars), while maintaining its electrification programme (7 vehicles by 2030, including the A290 – the R5 Alpine – which will be presented at the Le Mans 24 Hours). Renault Group is also focusing on hydrogen combustion engines for high-power extra-urban commercial applications. Hydrogen can also be used in different forms. For example, Hyvia (Renault’s joint venture with Plug) has opted for the fuel cell for light commercial vehicles, with an ecosystem that includes hydrogen refuelling stations and services. As for Renault, the company is developing a hybrid technology combining an electric motor with a hydrogen range-extender powered by a fuel cell.

Do you want to learn more about the Alpine Alpenglow? Then our latest article on the subject should interest you. You can read it here.

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Article written by Laurent Meillaud and translated by Mariem Ben Tili

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About the author

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Laurent Meillaud

Freelance automotive journalist and consultant, author as well, focused on technologies and new trends for more than 30 years, convinced that hydrogen is one of the energies for the future.

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