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Alpine A290

A made-to-measure partnership with Michelin

To carry over the A110's hallmark agility and fun-to-drive reputation to the upcoming A290 electric city car, Alpine Cars brought in Michelin to develop the tyres for the first of the brand's 'Dream Garage' models. Philippe Mérimée, the man in charge of ride and handling at Alpine, and Frédéric Brigaud, Michelin's Technical Account Manager for Alpine, talk about the two companies' near-fusional association.

The tyres on the Alpine A290 are designed by Michelin | Renault Group

As the only point of contact between a vehicle and the road, tyres play a core role in determining the dynamic qualities of any car. They are even more critical when it comes to sports cars like the A110. Alpine consequently had no hesitation when it started planning for the upcoming A290.

A longstanding association founded on innovation

The partnership that exists between the two companies today stands even more to reason in that it follows a long tradition that dates back to the 1960s, at a time when Michelin was committed to the development of radial technology which was revolutionising the world of tyres. Equipping Alpine's Formula 3 single-seaters, which featured adjustable suspension, contributed to fine-tuning the concept and eliminating the phenomenon of breakaway at high speed that was hindering the work of Michelin's engineers.

Partnership Alpine A290 electric city car

Tyres for Alpine A290 100% electric city car were developed by Michelin as part of an exclusive partnership.

The two companies have continued to collaborate closely ever since, in the realms of both production cars and motorsport. It was effectively with Alpine that Michelin introduced racing's first slicks, at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1967. The idea was immediately snapped up by Formula 1! It was also with Alpine and Michelin that radial technology triumphed for the first time in the World Rally Championship (in 1973) and at Le Mans (1978).

Given the A110's more recent success, there was every reason to extend the collaboration in the form of an exclusive partnership. “The value of our association stems from the fact that it made it possible to lay the foundations for a genuine joint-development project at a very early stage,” underlines Alpine's ride and handling expert, Philippe Mérimée.

Future Alpine A290: Three tailor-made MICHELIN tyres with exclusive marking

Alpine A290: A range with three specific 19-inch tyres

The A290 will feature a range of three marked tyres on its 19-inch wheels:

  • The MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV: a sporty summer tyre with optimised energy efficiency through low rolling resistance, combining grip, longevity and autonomy.
  • The MICHELIN Pilot Sport S5: the sportiest summer tyre designed to extract the full potential of the A290 on both wet and dry surfaces. A performance-bred tyre available exclusively as an original-equipment fitment
  • The MICHELIN Pilot Alpin 5: a winter tyre offering a high level of grip to cope with a spectrum of winter conditions, particularly in cold and inclement weather and on wet or snow-covered surfaces.
MICHELIN tyres for the new Alpine A290

Perfect balance and electric vehicle specifications: the A290's challenge

Each tyre development is a genuine challenge, even more so on an electric vehicle. It has to guarantee its autonomy and take into account a new weight distribution combined with high and instantaneous torque. At 3.99 metres long, the Alpine A290 combines features enabling it to reach new limits. The short wheelbase promotes agility while a wider track increases stability, notably under braking. The wider tracks also make it possible to increase the cross-section of the tread by more than 15% to 225 mm wide, thereby increasing the surface contact with the ground.

The MICHELIN tyres developed jointly for the A290 take into account these new parameters to maximise the car's performance. No less than two years of development was needed to find the perfect formula.

Exclusive "A29" marking developed by Michelin for the Alpine A290

The A290 tyre marking will be "A29". This will ensure customers get the exact same performance when they replace their tyres: a perfect balance between safety, range, handling, durability, comfort and acoustics.

Tyre sizes a joint decision

“Tyre size is fundamental to achieving the required levels of dynamic performance, resilience, mass, range and energy efficiency,” says Michelin's Technical Account Manager for Alpine, Frédéric Brigaud.

The choice for the A290 has finally settled on 225-40-R19, which equates to a tread width of 225mm, combined with a 40% height to width ratio for the sidewalls and an interior diameter of 19 inches.

A project initiated in 2021

partnership Alpine A290 banner

Alpine 290β foreshadows the future Alpine A290 100% electric city car, to be revealed in June 2024.

Alpine and Michelin's technical cooperation on the A110 started in 2012. That involving the A290 began in 2021. “At that point, nothing actually tangible even existed,” notes Frédéric Brigaud, “but we were capable of working on the brief with the elements we had in virtual form.”

The two entities were subsequently able to commence the development process per se, including a joint testing programme to evaluate tyre options fitted to a preparatory laboratory car that foreshadowed the forthcoming model. The majority of these tests – usually a week or so long - took place at Michelin's proving ground in Ladoux, near Clermont-Ferrand, France, where a wide spectrum of conditions can be replicated, including a wet surface with a consistent depth of water. The last joint test took place early in 2024, at the Indra facility in southern Spain.

The data obtained in the course of this development loop is invaluable in establishing the final specification of the A290's tyres ahead of the car's revelation to the public, in June 2024.

(c) Director: Hervé CHERVY -  Producer: DPPI MEDIA

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