Currently reading: Alpine and Lotus axe deal to co-develop electric sports car
“Mutual decision” means the two firms will go it alone on their flagship EVs

Alpine and Lotus have ended their collaboration on the development of a new electric sports car, widely understood to be the successor to the Alpine A110.

The two firms signed a memorandum of understanding in January 2021, agreeing to conduct a “comprehensive feasibility study” for the car. 

In a statement issued today, Alpine said: “Lotus and Alpine have been collaborating on a future EV sports car vision for more than two years, during which time a strong relationship between the two companies has developed.

“As with any collaboration following an MoU [Memorandum of Understanding], the outcome was not guaranteed.

“We have decided not to progress with the joint development of a sports car for Alpine. This is a mutual decision reached amicably, and we will continue to discuss other future opportunities.”

Alpine suv render 2022

The next-generation A110 is slated to be the third of three models to arrive from Alpine’s ‘dream garage’ of EVs, following next year’s Renault 5-based A290 hot hatch and the GT X-Over crossover.

Under the MoU, the A110 was planned to share a chassis and technologies with the Lotus Type 135 – itself a spiritual successor to the Lotus Elise – including having its battery cells stacked vertically behind the driver. This would allow the seats to be placed lower than if the car used a conventional skateboard-style EV platform and would bring the weight to the centre of the chassis, like in a mid-engined sports car.

Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi previously told Autocar: “Lotus and us share the same preoccupation, which is trying to make light, agile sports cars while obviously adding weight and electrifying.

“So it’s only normal that we think about those challenges together, at least upstream. We will see if we partner up, but obviously we share the same problems and the same opportunities.”

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Rossi also suggested that a final decision on the future of the partnership was to be undertaken by the end of 2022, but neither firm had made an official statement before now.

It's yet to be seen whether the end of the MoU for the new sports car will affect Alpine’s deliberations over using a Lotus platform for a pair of SUVs due in 2027 and 2028.

The duo will be “in the segment of Porsche Macan and Porsche Cayenne, more or less,” Rossi confirmed as Alpine posted its earnings figures for 2022.

Alpine will have to look beyond the Renault Group for a platform, Rossi said, adding that Lotus owner Geely was the “most natural” partner for the project.

Lotus has said that it's willing to work with partners that wish to reuse the platform from the new Lotus Eletre electric SUV, which is also set to spawn a Macan-sized model codenamed Type 134.

Charlie Martin

Charlie Martin Autocar
Title: Editorial Assistant, Autocar

As a reporter, Charlie plays a key role in setting the news agenda for the automotive industry. He joined Autocar in July 2022 after a nine-month stint as an apprentice with sister publication, What Car?. He's previously contributed to The Intercooler, and placed second in Hagerty’s 2019 Young Writer competition with a feature on the MG Metro 6R4

He is the proud owner of a Fiat Panda 100HP, and hopes to one day add a lightweight sports car like an Alpine A110 or a Lotus Elise S1 to his collection.

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TStag 23 May 2023

A hunch. Jaguar might turn out to be a potential partner for either Lotus or Alpine

LP in Brighton 22 May 2023
They should have made this project work. Without it both companies will have to use mass produced parts to be cost efficient, loose economies of scale or be forced to cancel their planned models. I suspect Alpine has never made a profit from its low volume A110 partly as a result of having to go it alone.
So may be MG will have the “affordable” EV sports car market all to itself?
F6C 22 May 2023

Bummer for Alpine. First Caterham bailed on the A110 project. Now another attempt to co-develop a sports car has gone titsup!