He said that in terms of future-proofing low-volume, ‘high-output’ sports cars, “sustainable fuels could be the solution”.
“In our case, we believe hydrogen as a fuel could be one. Hydrogen has the green merit of being very compatible with electrification, because the parallel path to hydrogen as a fuel is hydrogen as a fuel cell, which produces electricity.
“That’s good because the end-to-end industrial path for hydrogen will be compatible with electrification, so we believe that could be one way forward.”
Rossi revealed that Alpine aims to showcase hydrogen-combustion technology in a racing car in the future, either in Le Mans or another discipline, and could even create a bespoke prototype – in the vein of Volkswagen’s ID R electric racer – “that could take the Nurburgring record or things like that”.
“We believe there might be a proof of concept that could be done, with hydrogen as a fuel, that could then later on translate into super high-performance cars, and why not Alpine road cars?
“We know that Le Mans is promoting hydrogen fuel cells, which is one step forward, but we want to go another step forward and use hydrogen as a fuel so we could use a V6 – a hybridised V6 – powered by hydrogen”, he said.
Alpine’s parent company Renault recently explored the potential of hydrogen for road cars with the Scenic Vision concept, which uses an innovative range-extender powertrain comprising a 215bhp EV motor and a 40kWh battery which can be topped up on the move by a 15kW hydrogen fuel cell.
Hydrogen-combustion, meanwhile, has yet to be used by any manufacturer for a series-production car. The most vocal proponent of the technology is Toyota, which extols the cost benefits of using existing combustion technology in zero-emission cars and has shown that both the Toyota GR Yaris’s 1.6-litre three-cylinder engine, and the Lexus RC F’s 5.0-litre V8, need only light modification to run on hydrogen.