LONDON -- Lotus could sell to other automakers a version of the electric sports-car platform it is developing with Renault's Alpine brand.
The platform will be used to underpin an electric replacement for the A110 sports coupe in 2025 as part of a wider EV makeover for the Alpine brand, Renault CEO Luca de Meo said.
Lotus CEO Phil Popham said there would be "synergies" with Alpine in the timing of an upcoming of electric model for Lotus. The platform will be adaptable enough to spin off different model variants, Popham said. He did not say when the new Lotus EV will launch.
The platform will potentially be available for other automakers from Lotus Engineering, Popham said.
"It is a sports car platform, developed with the attributes of a sports car, but the economies are not just about having an OEM as a partner, but also about having maximum flexibility to deliver potential multiple derivatives," he said.
Lotus and Renault have been in discussion "for a number of months" over collaboration on the platform, Popham said.
The decision to partner with a Alpine, which is a Lotus competitor, was made for financial reasons. "Any sports car has more challenges for a business proposition simply because of the [low] volumes of that segment," Popham said. "It's makes sense to have an appropriate partner, and Alpine and Lotus are a natural fit."
The two companies both build low-volume sports cars that appeal to a certain enthusiast more interested in the purity of the driving experience rather than outright power.
Both put great emphasis on their cars' light weight as the key to achieve good dynamics, and both build their cars around a central 'tub' made from bonded aluminum to keep the weight down.
Popham would not comment on the construction of the new electric sports car platform, but the company is not expected to switch to using carbon fiber to offset the weight of the batteries because it wants to keep the purchase price as affordable as possible.
Renault's De Meo said he expected the Alpine version to sell for close to the 58,000-euro ($70,324) start price of the Alpine A110.