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Alpine’s Hydrogen-Burning Sports Car Revolution: From Concept to Racetrack

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This Alpine sports car runs on hydrogen fuel

Initially powered by a four-cylinder turbo engine, plans for a larger V6 engine are underway…

Some car manufacturers insist on preserving the combustion engine. Toyota is of the opinion that this can be achieved by burning hydrogen instead of fossil fuels. Meanwhile, Porsche and Lamborghini believe synthetic fuels could be the savior for gasoline engines. Renault's high-performance brand, Alpine, is championing hydrogen, and this Alpenglow Hy4 serves as a driving testament to that commitment.

The Alpine HY4 is an evolution of the static Alpenglow concept from 2022 and functions as a mobile prototype. Its turbocharged 2.0-liter engine produces 340 horsepower at 7,000 RPM, fueled by three hydrogen tanks, each holding 2.1 kilograms of hydrogen at a pressure of 700 bars. This power is delivered to the roads through a sequential gearbox.

The Alpine Alpenglow Hy4

A four-cylinder engine in such a high-performance hypercar may appear lackluster, yet there's no need for concern: Alpine is on the case, crafting an enhancement. A brand-new V6 engine, tailored specifically for hydrogen use, is on the horizon. There's also talk of another version of the Alpenglow, potentially named the Hy6, set to be unveiled by the end of 2024. Meanwhile, the Hy4 will be hitting the racetracks.

The model will make its public debut during the six-hour endurance race at Spa-Francorchamps as part of the FIA WEC season. Following that, the competition moves to France for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which will take place on June 14th and 15th.

The Hy4 has undergone a visual upgrade from the initial Alpenglow design, with Alpine revamping the exterior. The vehicle now has an updated crash structure to accommodate a two-seater cabin, and the hydrogen tanks have been integrated into the side pods. Additionally, it stands taller than its predecessor and features a redesigned aerodynamic package, highlighted by the new roof scoop.

Although the Hy4 is designed solely for the racetrack, Alpine believes that its propulsion technology is suitable for road use as well. This French niche brand goes as far as to claim that a hydrogen-powered internal combustion engine presents an "extremely promising solution for road use."

Further discussion on hydrogen:

The concept of adapting a combustion engine to run on hydrogen predates Toyota's trials with the GR Yaris and GR Corolla. Back in 2005, BMW showcased a V12 7 Series powered by a 6.0-liter engine that ran on hydrogen. Going even further back, in the late 1970s, the German luxury automaker developed a 5 Series (E12) that operated on liquid hydrogen. This model, known as the 520h, can be observed in a video from BMW Group Classic below.

Source: Alpine

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