The French firm takes advantage of the experience gained in Formula 1 to develop the aerodynamics and powertrain of two of the electric cars of the future: the Renault 5 and the Alpine SUV.
In the next four years, Alpine is going to launch three new electric car models on the market as part of the objective of the Renault Group to position the French brand in the market for premium sports electrified vehicles.
And to achieve this they will have the experience of the Formula 1 team in which they compete Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon. A formation that under the name of Renault until 2020 and representing Alpine since last year has acquired a remarkable technical background in hybrid powertrains, which reached the premier class in 2014.
Not only that, but Formula 1 is also the pinnacle of aerodynamic development in the automotive world, a facet that has become vital to achieve more efficient electric cars.
The range of an electric car is vital to its commercial success and in Alpine have turned to the aerodynamic department of the Formula 1 team based in Enstone, England, to maximize the potential of its new models.
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“The aerodynamics department at Enstone He has just finished a particular project for the brand’s road cars and we are about to embark on another»Alpine F1 technical director Matt Harman told Autocar.
These two models are the Renault 5 and Alpine’s future SUV, which will see the light of day in 2025 and on whose development Alpine Cars and Alpine F1 engineers work together.
“We are linking the two groups of people, both in physical tests (wind tunnel) and in computational fluid dynamics. It’s a very good collaboration, and it’s good for aerodynamics (engineers) as it gives them another angle to look at and refreshes their minds.”Harman points out.
“They really enjoy working on those projects, so we’ll keep them going. In fact, we will probably further expand our engineering expertise to road cars.”confirms the British engineer.
Powertrain and aerodynamics
The CEO of Alpine Cars, Laurent Rossi, endorses Harman’s words, noting that the brand wants to “ride the wave of F1. We are really doing technology transfer in battery management systemBecause whether you have a hybrid in F1 or an electric car on the road, it’s exactly the same today.”
“It’s about seeing when you can release electricity that you convert into instant torque; how long can you do that on a track or on a road; how much of the battery charge you can recover and how long you can make it last. It’s all the same. We transfer learnings about electricity from the track to the road and from the road to the track»explains the French engineer.
Harman notes that “a lot of carryover occurs, specifically in the engine generators, specifically the MGU-K (kinetic energy recuperator) of Formula 1. The development and technology of those units is improving tremendously.”
“Also battery technology and how we manage it thermally. We would all like to have electric vehicles, but we are a little concerned about their autonomy and this will only improve with development. It’s going to be an area where we’re really going to push ourselves,” reiterates Harman.
“Aerodynamics also becomes a factor, because now we can increase the autonomy in a street car thanks to aerodynamics. These are all important things that we are going to use for mass production”, concludes Laurent Rossi.