At Alpine, linen is the last frontier of innovation

The Dieppe brand has responded to the challenges of decarbonisation by constructing the electric A110 E-ternité with a... vegetable fiber

Alpine: linen instead of carbon on the A110 E-ternité
By opting for a material such as linen, Alpine has opted for naturalness, lightness and a short supply chain, relying on production in Normandy, near Dieppe, the cradle of the Brand, by the best cooperative in the sector, the "Terre de Lin”

True to its DNA, the French car brand Alpine continues the race for innovation.
Comparing with the challenge of decarbonisation, the Parisian manufacturer continues to innovate and has thus chosen linen for the components of its prototype, the A110 E-ternité, previously already made in carbon.
By opting for a material usually at the heart of the textile industry, Alpine has voted in favor of naturalness, lightness and a short supply chain, relying on a production center in Normandy, near Dieppe, the cradle of the Brand.
An innovation made possible by the research of two enthusiasts: Florentine Hubert, Leader in the Design of Exterior Accessories for the Home, e David Schmaltz, Head of Upstream Activities at the Alp'Innov Center, the Alpine laboratory located in Les Ulis, a French municipality of about 25 inhabitants located in the Department of Essonne, in the Paris region of Île-de-France.

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Renowned for its performance, Alpine also highlights it in its innovations, as is well known to most.
Taking the path of decarbonisation in compliance with thetechnology and lightness, the transalpine industry has in fact focused on linen to be ever more innovative.
The Alpine A110 E-ternité, a 100 percent electric prototype unveiled in July 2022 at the French Grand Prix in formula 1, is the perfect demonstration of this.
“Moving from a classic thermal A110 to the 110 percent electric A100 E-ternité was a real technological challenge. Achieving eco-responsibility goals on a vehicle with flax is a real opportunity. Lightness increases and the number of components decreases. It is an innovation that is both technological and ecological”, he claims Florentine Hubert, Alpine's Leader in External Accessory Design

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Alpine: linen instead of carbon on the A110 E-ternité
Facing the challenge of decarbonisation, the French car manufacturer Alpine continues to innovate and has chosen flax for various components of its prototype, the A110 E-ternité, previously made in carbon fiber

Bonnet, roof, rear window, seat shells and future rear skirt in natural material

This prototype acts as a mobile laboratory to test the innovations that project Alpine towards the "Dream garage".
A model that maintains Alpine's legendary agility with incomparable lightness for an electric car in this segment.
The weight of 1.378 kg includes 392 kg of batteries.
Overall, the electric model weighs 258 kg more than the thermal A110.
The A110 E-ternité boasts a linen trim on the bonnet, roof, rear window, seat shell and future rear skirt.
Behind these decarbonised bodywork components are two passionate researchers: Florentine Hubert e David Schmaltz.
They have fine-tuned all these components to prepare for the future with the adoption of new technologies. For them, the choice of linen was obvious.
Linen is a fiber obtained from the phloem or book of the Linum Usitatissimum plant, composed of about 70 percent cellulose.

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Alpine: linen instead of carbon on the A110 E-ternité
By opting for a material such as linen, Alpine has opted for naturalness, lightness and a short supply chain, relying on production in Normandy, near Dieppe, the cradle of the Brand, by the best cooperative in the sector, the "Terre de Lin”

Less energy-intensive production than carbon, typically used to lighten sports cars

It is a natural material, and therefore of biological origin, and its production is less energy intensive than carbon fibers, generally used to lighten sports cars.
The low density and therefore the lightness, the resistance and the acoustic properties give further advantages to this material biological origin.
Furthermore, the linen used for these components comes from the Terre de Lin cooperative, responsible for 15 percent of world production and located near Dieppe, cradle of the Alpine brand, where the Manufacture Alpine Dieppe "Jean Rédélé" still stands, named after the founder .

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Alpine: linen instead of carbon on the A110 E-ternité
Facing the challenge of decarbonisation, the French car manufacturer Alpine continues to innovate and has chosen flax for various components of its prototype, the A110 E-ternité, previously made in carbon fiber

From the seed… to the bodywork in bi-biais, i.e. a weft woven at 45 degrees with cotton thread

Certainly ecological, flax needs seeds, soil, water and sun.
But even before Alpine's laboratory receives the linen weaves, it is its partner, Terre de Lin, who carries out the entire transformation process.
The flax is sown between March and April, before being harvested in early summer and placed in swaths in the fields, to allow a natural maceration process intended to separate the flax fibers from those of the wood.
This operation can last from 15 July to 15 September. The flax is then made into 250kg bales using flax twine.
We then move on to scutching to extract the long fibers.
The heads are minced. This is followed by combing to homogenize the linen, ironing to make a ribbon that will be wrapped in "bumps", sort of 45 kg bales to be sent to the spinning mill.
After doing this and woven the linen, the wefts are ready to be sent to Alpine.
But how do you go from the linen texture to the bonnet lining, seat shell or roof?
The Alpine laboratory in Les Ulis, located in the French capital region, receives the dry fabric from the supplier.
The choice of the weave made with the Alpine design office fell on the bi-biais, i.e. a weft woven at a 45° angle with cotton thread.

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Alpine: linen instead of carbon on the A110 E-ternité
Facing the challenge of decarbonisation, the French car manufacturer Alpine continues to innovate and has chosen flax for various components of its prototype, the A110 E-ternité, previously made in carbon fiber

Fabric composed of 95 percent linen and 5 percent cotton, impregnated with epoxy resin

The fabric is made up of 95 percent linen and 5 percent cotton, the former originating from that Department of the Seine-Maritime in the Normandy Region which gave birth to Alpine herself.
Using an infusion process, it is impregnated with epoxy resin to obtain a final composition with 80 percent linen and 20 percent resin.
The weft is then placed in a mold, taking care to verify its orientation and the number of folds required.
The outer surface of the component, i.e. the one that will be visible, is positioned in contact with the mould. Everything is covered with a cloth and vacuum packed.
Once removed from the mould, the prototype component is manually finished and assembled in the Alp'Innov Center.

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Going in search of a bio-based resin, Florent Hubert, Alpine's External Accessories Design Leader, worked with his colleague David Schmalt on resins that, in the long term, may well meet the requirements of the A110 E-ternité

“In the future the same mold indifferently for the production in carbon, glass or linen”

Just like Roland Jourdain's "We Explore" catamaran, which finished second in the 2022 edition of the "Route du Rhum", whose deck is made of linen, Alpine, as a manufacturer of innovative sports cars, also focuses on performance.
It is no coincidence that it supplies both with the raw material.
“In the long term, we also want to transpose the epoxy resin to be completely decarbonised”, insists Florent Hubert.
Looking for a resin of biological origin, both he and David Schmaltz work on resins that, in the long term, will be able to meet the requirements of their specifications.
This unwavering desire to improve linen components demonstrates the extent to which Alpine places performance at the heart of the research.
The carbon bonnet of the Alpine A110 R weighs 3,98 kg compared to the aluminum bonnet generally used for all A110s which weighs 6,9 kg.
Today, a component made of linen weighs 20 percent more than those made of carbon.
Thanks to the knowledge of the composite material, it is now possible to integrate the maximum number of functions, contain the weight and reduce the number of components.
Florent excludes nothing. Designing linen molds can be an option that should not be overlooked.
“In the future, we can imagine using the same mold indifferently for carbon, glass or linen production”.
However, it is still too early to hypothesize a standard Alpine made in linen, even if the first results are promising.

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The presentation of the Norman cooperative “Terre de Lin” (in English)

The presentation of the Norman cooperative "Terre de Lin" (in French)

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A veritable laboratory on four wheels, the A110 E-ternité is a 100% electric convertible that manages to maintain the legendary Alpine agility with an incomparable lightness of chassis and bodywork for a vehicle that is almost unique in its segment