Alpine Alpenglow - hydrogen powered race car for the road

Max McDee, 14 October 2022

It’s hard not to write about Alpine Alpenglow, despite it not being an electric car (not in the slightest) it is representing a future from an iconic brand. A brand that for many people is the essence of a racing car.

Sure, there are dozens of better known brands, more successful brands who built more powerful cars and sold them in tens of thousands of units. But none of those built cars like Alpine - light, agile, fun to drive both on the road and on the track. Alpine is a legend, and when a legend builds a car - it’s a good idea to have a look at it, who knows? Maybe they are right about the future?

Alpine Alpenglow - hydrogen powered race car for the road

Alpine Alpenglow is powered by a combustion engine and if you like to read only about electric cars, the rest of this article is probably not for you. But if you’d like to have a peek at the future of motoring - you may wanna stick around.

First of all - the name Alpenglow was taken from a reddish glow of the mountains, just before the sunrise - according to the official press release. Alpenglow is a single-seat race car powered by a hydrogen combustion engine and it is a clear sign that Alpine is committed to a carbon-free and emissions-free future but not necessarily electric only. The Alpine A110 E-ternitè proves that the company is not walking away from electric cars, most likely it will continue to develop both technologies.

Alpine Alpenglow - hydrogen powered race car for the road

Alpenglow is designed around a racing car chassis, there are eerie similarities between it and the LMDh Hypercar which Alpine will race at Le Mans in 2024. The rear pods house two

700-bar hydrogen tanks and the combustion engine sits right behind the driver. Let me tell you this - never mind how powerful of an electric car you’ve driven, there is absolutely nothing out there that compares to the sensation of a screaming engine right behind you.

At speed, with your right foot firmly planted as if you were trying to put a hole in the floor, it feels like you’re being chased by a wild animal. All those primal instincts heighten, hair on your neck stands at attention like a well trained platoon of tiny soldiers. This sensation is addictive and companies like Alpine not only understand that but its entire business is built around this sensation. Formula 1 is the most watched sport in the world - because of that sensation. Speed is just a side effect.

Alpine Alpenglow - hydrogen powered race car for the road

Alpenglow sits at 5 meters long, 2 meters wide and just 1 meter tall. The front light signature is meant to resemble a comet entering Earth’s atmosphere with tiny specks of light showering around. The rear lights are blue to signify the hydrogen propulsion. Clever bit is the exhaust - since water is the only byproduct of hydrogen combustion, it is dispersed as a mist through the rear lights and as the car drives, the mist is lit up looking like a glowing afterburner trail. Very dramatic, cool and clever at the same time.

Aerodynamics were in charge of the design, clearly. The Alpenglow is designed to gently slice through the air with as little resistance as possible. The air is guided around the car and the water drop-shaped canopy and then directed under the rear spoiler which is completely transparent. The wheels are made from the same, transparent material for extra effect. There is a red light running across the middle of the car as if the design on its own wasn’t dramatic enough.

Alpine Alpenglow - hydrogen powered race car for the road

When it comes to the cockpit, there’s not much to it. A single racing seat with a racing harness, yoke steering wheel with Overtake, Track Control and Regenerative Braking buttons and two pedals - one for go and the other one for when things get too hairy. No gauges, no distractions - pure pleasure of being in control (most of the time at least) of this wild beast.

The car is made in Alpine Blue since no other color would be suitable frankly, carbon fiber is used extensively throughout the chassis and F1-derived suspension clearly indicate this is a track car. Alpine insists that we will see something like this on the road but that’s a distant future.

Alpine Alpenglow - hydrogen powered race car for the road

We are living in revolutionary times, the 100 years of motoring is changing and although the prevailing idea is to go with electric cars, there is a substantial group of companies with faithful customers who simply don’t want to give up the combustion engine. That’s ok, there will always be room for different ideas - that’s how Mazda gave us the glorious RX7 FD.

Combustion engines may no longer be considered mainstream in a few short years of time and electric cars will take over the world and for the better of it. But combustion engines will live on, powered by hydrogen or synthetic fuels, forever getting more complicated and eventually will become a symbol of status and will require forgotten knowledge and skills to be maintained and kept in shape.

Alpenglow is heading the future - in the mist are next Alpine cars Alpenglow is heading the future - in the mist are next Alpine cars

But just imagine, 40 years from now, in a city center full of silent electric cars zooming to their destination, a classic Porsche 911 flies past, still running its original flat-six, with pops and bangs accompanying every gear change. People would probably run for cover.

So, Alpine Alpenglow - is it a swan song or the future? Only time will tell, for now we are going to enjoy looking at it. If you’re near Paris this weekend then you’re in luck - the car will be displayed at the Paris 2022 Motor Show. Will we ever see the Alpenglow on the road or a track? Will we ever get to hear the roar of its engine? Even better - will Alpine make an all-electric version of it? Time my friends, has all the answers.

Alpine Alpenglow - hydrogen powered race car for the road



Reader comments

  • Ilikeminecraft

It’s really nice and really catches your eye

I wouldn't mind supporting them, if they were sold anywhere. No fuel stations anywhere either. I think only a few exist in California? Point is, hydrogen is the way to go.

Nice? That probably was the best car we've seen this decade...



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