Alpine, a manufacturer predominantly known for its robust street cars, recently stirred the automotive world with its stunning Alpenglow concept. A futuristic vehicle, the Alpenglow exhibits a design so outrageous that it holds its own even when parked next to the likes of a Delage D12, an Aston Martin Valkyrie, or a Bugatti Bolide. In addition to its eye-catching design, the Alpenglow produces zero emissions and, surprisingly, a considerable amount of noise, adding an emotional appeal often missing from electric vehicles.
The Alpenglow follows in the footsteps of Alpine’s previous hydrogen hypercar design, the A4810, unveiled in March 2022. Despite the A4810’s provocative aesthetic, the Alpenglow somehow makes its predecessor appear somewhat conventional and sensible.
Standing at less than a meter (3.3 feet) high, the Alpenglow boasts proportions resembling a futuristic Le Mans racer. Its sleek, slippery lines suggest high-speed capability. The design includes a single-seat jet-fighter cabin, a massive double-wing structure at the back, and jagged-looking LED tail lights that stretch further back than the tail fins of a classic ’57 T-Bird.
The Alpenglow’s aerodynamics are undoubtedly bold, with a large front splitter and gaping vents indicating a serious racing machine. The back end, however, leaves much to the imagination with virtually nothing there. The cabin narrows to a teardrop shape, under which the rear wheels require inner bodywork. A single fin runs down the middle under the cabin, dividing the space into what might be the largest diffuser setup ever seen in a concept car.
While the vehicle is only a concept and will not see real-world testing, the aerodynamics hint at a car capable of generating enough downforce to theoretically drive it upside down at walking speed.
The Alpenglow’s powertrain is equally intriguing. Similar to Britain’s Viritech Apricale and California’s Hyperion XP-1, the Alpenglow uses hydrogen. However, unlike these vehicles, which run hydrogen through a fuel cell to power an all-electric drivetrain, Alpine has taken a different approach. The Alpenglow plans to burn hydrogen in a combustion engine, with water being the primary emission.
This approach offers a solution for individuals who believe electric vehicles lack the emotional connection associated with gear shifting, mechanical complexity, and the thrilling sound of a combustion engine. A hydrogen combustion engine could potentially deliver a zero-emissions vehicle experience without losing these aspects. However, this solution does come with its caveats, as it relinquishes the convenience of home EV charging and requires typical combustion-engine maintenance levels.
Toyota and Renault are already exploring this path, particularly in racing programs and other combustion concept vehicles. Alpine’s press release about the Alpenglow implies the use of a hybrid powertrain, possibly integrating electric motors on the front wheels and routing the combustion engine’s power to the rear wheels.
The Alpenglow was first introduced at the Paris Motor Show last year. As a pure concept, the vehicle symbolizes a potential direction for future models, both for the racetrack and the open road. Although there are no specific details regarding peak power, torque, performance, or range, the Alpenglow’s ambitious design and innovative powertrain hint at the exciting possibilities of hydrogen-hybrid technology. The Alpine design team deserves commendation for their audacious approach, which could redefine the automotive landscape.
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