Alpine has unveiled an EV version of the A110, called the the A110 E-ternité. Before you pack your belongings and plot your big move to France, you should know the electric A110 is just a prototype for now. Despite the EV being in its early stages, and zero guarantee that it could make it to production, the A110 E-ternité bodes well for Alpine’s transition away from ICE-powered sport cars.
Alpine figured out a way to shove an electric motor in place of an engine while leaving the magic of the A110 intact — mostly. It’s all about weight, distribution of mass, and avoiding temptation to increase power for the sake of a spec-sheet. Instant torque won’t make up for a car that can’t handle. And it would be quite a shame to reduce the agility and sure-footedness that makes the A110 great.
So, instead of buying gobs of torque and dropping in large batteries for max range, Alpine adapted the battery from the Renault Megane E-Tech. Its 12 battery modules were split in two groups: four battery modules go at the front, and eight at the rear. That put the weight distribution of the electric A110 at 42/58, which is damn close to the ICE-powered model at 43/57 (Fr/Rr).
Altogether, the battery modules weigh 864 pounds, but the prototype dropped some weight over the production model, so the E-ternité weighs 569 pounds more than the ICE-powered A110. Given the added weight, the E-ternité will go 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds, instead of 4.2 seconds like the ICE-powered model.
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It’s not just the added weight, though; the EV is slightly less powerful, overall. The E-ternité’s motor makes 239 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque — about 57 HP and 11 lb-ft of torque less than the internal combustion engine in the A110.
But I’m happy that Alpine engineers refused to heap on power and range, if that meant having to change the character of the A110. Even then, the E-ternité still gets a decent electric range of 261 miles. It’s not like Alpine tried to make a perfect EV sports car by giving it barely any range; the edict here is balance.
There’s other neat things, which I’m treating like an afterthought just because Alpine is still being Alpine. There’s an infotainment system that relies on a personal tablet (iPad or Android device) instead of an Alpine head unit! The carmaker, I mean, not the electronics brand.
There’s a new gearbox made just for the A110 E-ternité, too, a DCT that smooths out torque delivery. And after many years of fans allegedly demanding a convertible A110, the E-ternité finally drops the top with removable roof shells. It’s more like a big sunroof than a vert, but OK. Alpine gets a pass to call this a convertible. Not just because the carmaker is celebrating the A110's 60th anniversary, but also because it made an EV that might actually be fun to drive.