MoUs - Memorandum of Understanding is a phenomenon not foreign to the automotive industry with a bevy of manufacturers having previously collaborated on jointly developed cars/projects. Think of the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ or the BMW Z4 and Toyota Supra and, perhaps somewhat controversial, the Nissan Navara and Mercedes-Benz X-Class pact.
That said, MoUs are here to stay as these aid in reducing development costs among manufacturers, which will benefit each respectively in economies of scale. It’s an excellent business undertaking because, to be honest, why try and reinvent the wheel when someone else has long done so and, in some instances, even amortised the tooling.
I am an avid advocate of this, so long as each brand's ethos shines through in their respective products and is not overshadowed by another. With EV technology being topical amongst OEMs in general, you can bet your top Randela that joint ventures, MoUs or collaborations will become the rule and not the exception in future project development endeavours.
Now two purveyors of lightweight sports cars - Alpine and Lotus - have today announced their signing of an MoU. As part of the Alpine Business Unit development, Groupe Renault and Group Lotus have agreed to study a number of areas of cooperation, including the joint development of an EV sports car.
The Alpine and Lotus teams will conduct a comprehensive feasibility study for the joint engineering, design and development of an EV sportscar by leveraging the resources, expertise and facilities of the respective entities in both France and the UK.
Alpine and Lotus will also explore the development of a joint services offer combining their engineering expertise. A collaboration to leverage Alpine’s motorsport platform covering Formula One to Formula E and Endurance is also under study.
“The signing of this MoU with Lotus shows the lean and smart approach we’re implementing as part of the new Alpine brand strategy. Both brands have an amazing legacy and we are most excited to start this work together, from engineering tailored solutions to developing a next-generation EV sports car. This collaboration along with our transformation mark the beginning of a new era in which we’ll be taking the Alpine name and line-up to the future. We’re putting F1 at the heart of our business, leveraging our in-house expertise and best-in-class partners such as Lotus to inject our cars with leading-edge performance, technology and motorisation”, says Laurent Rossi, CEO, Alpine.
“Today’s announcement is the first step in what is set to be a hugely rewarding collaboration between our iconic brands. We are proud to be working with Groupe Renault in this collaboration – sharing Lotus’ technical expertise and abilities, and leveraging our long track record of successful collaborations. Our companies have much in common – from a pioneering pedigree in light-weighting, to championship-winning sports cars which perform as impressively on the road as they do in the motorsports arena. It is a natural fit in many ways and the co-development of an EV sports car is hugely exciting for our companies, our fans and customers around the world. The joint-services element of our agreement will additionally make our engineering expertise available to those wishing to engage our innovations,” says Phil Popham, CEO, Lotus Cars.
While Alpine is not sold in Mzansi, sadly, Lotus will in the first half of 2021 relaunch locally after a long hiatus and be distributed under the auspices of the Daytona Group - who currently import and distribute high-end premium brands such as Aston Martin, McLaren, Rolls-Royce and Pagani to name a few. So, then, the said future EV sports car is not a far-fetched possibility for our market and Lotus' intent of electric propulsion with the near production ready Evija hypercar is well documented.