Alpine reveals Alpenglow hypercar powered by hydrogen engine

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French performance marque Alpine has revealed the updated version of its Alpenglow hypercar concept that will take to Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps racetrack on Saturday.

The run will coincide with the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, which serves as round three of the 2024 World Endurance Championship, where Alpine competes in the premier Hypercar class with its A424 LMDh race car.

The updated concept, dubbed the Alpenglow Hy4, won’t be racing. It will only be making demonstration runs to highlight the performance potential of its hydrogen engine. Further demonstration runs are planned for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in mid-June.

The original Alpenglow concept was presented as a tease of the new design language pegged for Alpine’s future lineup, but also to showcase an internal-combustion engine designed to burn hydrogen. The engine in the Alpenglow Hy4 is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder rated at 335 hp, though a more powerful V-6 is being developed in time for debut later this year, Alpine said.

Alpine Alpenglow Hy4 concept

The design of the Alpenglow Hy4 has also changed significantly compared to the original concept, and now looks closer to a production car. There’s a simpler front fascia design, individual headlights instead of just a front light bar, a roof scoop, and an actual cabin with two seats.

Alpine hasn’t confirmed plans to put a hydrogen-powered car into production, but said the Alpenglow Hy4 concept signals that it is ready should hydrogen become a popular fuel choice. Unlike gasoline, the burning of hydrogen doesn’t release any carbon emissions. There are harmful nitrogen oxides, though there are ways to minimize this, like using the urea-based selective catalytic reduction found in diesel engines.

Because of the lack of carbon, some automakers as well as motorsports organizations are looking at hydrogen to keep the internal-combustion engine alive in a world of zero carbon emissions. Another solution aimed at saving the internal-combustion engine is using carbon-neutral e-fuels. These fuels are formed by combining hydrogen with CO2 captured from the air.

MissionH24 hydrogen-electric race car concept

MissionH24 hydrogen-electric race car concept

Formula 1 is looking to introduce a sustainable fuel option in 2026, likely based on e-fuels. And the ACO, which is the organizer of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, wants to introduce a class for hydrogen-powered race cars by the same date.

The ACO last year presented the MissionH24 hydrogen-electric concept which featured an electric drive system primarily powered by a hydrogen fuel cell stack. The MissionH24 concept will also take to the Spa racetrack on Saturday. Toyota also presented a race car powered by hydrogen engine last year, the GR H2 Racing concept, and Ferrari has been discovered to have patented the design for a hydrogen engine.

While the evolution of hydrogen as a possible future fuel source plays out, Alpine in the meantime will focus on electric vehicles to curb emissions. The company’s first EV is the A290 hot hatch due out later this year.

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