The new DeLorean Electric Car is the latest concept in a long line of promises from the once-defunct brand.
A new electric DeLorean will arrive in 2024, says the latest iteration of the DeLorean Motor Co. This is the brand John DeLorean founded in 1975, which went bankrupt by 1982. The collapse was due to mismanagement, complaints about poor fabrication and lackluster performance—and the fact that its founder was charged with conspiring to smuggle 55 pounds ($24 million worth) of cocaine into the US. He was acquitted.
Now rebranded as DeLorean Motors Reimagined LLC after years of wallowing as a niche steel-car automaker in Texas, DeLorean says it’s making a modern electric coupe, the Alpha5.
The effort is led by Joost de Vries, who joined the company in 2021. He was previously vice president of sales at Karma Automotive, the beleaguered Chinese-owned entity that purchased assets of the also-defunct Fisker Automotive in a bankruptcy auction in 2014. During his tenure, Karma faced major sales challenges and financial troubles due to its inability to manufacturer quality cars. De Vries also worked as vice president of global service at Tesla.
But the DeLorean Alpha5 won’t have hypercar speed. It won’t even be street legal, de Vries said.
The renderings for the latest version of the almost 40-year-old marque show a modern gullwing coupe that looks less wedge-like than the original that gained international fame when it was featured in the 1985 film, Back to the Future. Softly rounded in an arch from front to back, it has thin white headlights and a long red band of light that makes up the taillights. Images on the company’s website indicate it has an active rear spoiler and seating for four.
It will be able to hit 60 mph in 2.9 seconds and have a top speed of 155 mph, according to the company, numbers that approximate the Lucid Air family sedan but lack the blinding speed of a Rimac Nevera, which can do 0-60mph in 1.8 seconds. The Tesla Model S Plaid edition can do the 0-60 mph sprint in 1.9 seconds.
Then again, the DeLorean cars DMC was making after a British-born mechanic named Stephen Wynne purchased the logo and existing inventory from John DeLorean in 1995 were far from quick. Identical to those in the movie, underpowered and lacking even rudimentary modern comforts, Wynne’s DeLoreans, made in Texas, lacked power steering and automatic transmission; the placement of the shifter, clutch, and other pedals were so tight they crammed all but the daintiest feet.
John DeLorean’s original version of the DeLorean was even more archaic. When it launched in 1981, the car had a 130-horsepower 2.8-liter V6 Peugeot-Renault-Volvo engine in the rear of a Lotus frame. Available with manual or automatic transmission, it went to 60 mph in 10.5 seconds and got just 18 miles per gallon. Fewer than 9,000 of them were made at DeLorean’s facility in Northern Ireland. Prices started at $25,000.
DeLorean is registering interest in the Alpha5 on its website, which it first hinted at in a Super Bowl commercial in February. It is unclear if the company is also taking deposits. In light of many startups that announce a concept without delivering it in production form, savvy consumers will wait until the car becomes reality before committing any money to it.
Requests to the company for comment were not immediately returned.