Great Scott! DeLorean is back (to the future) with new gullwinged Alpha5 electric sports car

0-88mph in 4.35 seconds

The brand made famous in the Back to the Future film franchise has unveiled its new gullwing coupé, the Alpha5, which takes inspiration from the brand’s “renowned heritage” with a slatted rear windscreen and extravagant door design.

In essence, however, this is a large, four-seat coupé with a minimalist digital cockpit. Buttons are almost entirely eschewed in favour of touchscreen controls, while the driver gets a digital instrument display.

In all, the car measures just under five metres in length, around two metres wide and less than 1.4m in height, making it very slightly larger than the Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S.

Under the skin, the Alpha5 will have a battery capacity of more than 100kWh, giving the car an estimated range of more than 300 miles on the American EPA economy test.

DeLorean Alpha5 electric car

DeLorean is also targeting a top speed of 155mph and a 0-60mph time of just under three seconds. In a nod to the speed that the original had to attain in Back to the Future, the company has also quoted a predicted 0-88mph time of 4.35 seconds.

The top speed and efficiency will largely be down to the estimated drag coefficient of 0.23, which would make it one of the most aerodynamically efficient cars on the road, matching the Tesla Model 3 (though not quite as slippery through the air as the new Mercedes EQE).

DeLorean says these figures apply to a “base performance model”, implying that faster versions could arrive at some point in the future.

The company has reportedly also announced plans to build a petrol-powered V8 sports car and an electric saloon in future, and is even said to have mooted a hydrogen-fuelled SUV.

Unlike the old DeLorean (below), which was famously built on the outskirts of Belfast in Northern Ireland, the new Alpha5 will be manufactured in Italy. However, the American brand has said that the car’s powertrain will be supplied by firms in the UK.

Top five wedge shaped cars - DeLorean DMC-12

Production will not begin until 2024, but the car will make its public debut in August this year at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California. DeLorean is expected to begin taking orders soon after that grand unveiling.

“There was this enormous responsibility to make sure we honoured the history of the DeLorean brand, but an even greater responsibility in curating its future,” said DeLorean’s chief marketing officer, Troy Beetz. “I think we did both with the Alpha5.”

The return of DeLorean

There have been several attempts to revive the DeLorean nameplate since John DeLorean’s original company went bankrupt in 1982, taking £78m of UK taxpayer’s money with it, writes David Mullen. The most successful has been DeLorean Motors Reimagined (which traded as the DeLorean Motor Company), a business founded in 1995 in Texas by Liverpool-born mechanic Stephen Wynne.

Wynne’s DMC acquired the DeLorean trademark as well as much of the old company’s leftover parts inventory enabling the business to start restoring and refurbishing original cars using a mixture of old stock and remanufactured parts.

DeLorean logo

The company had for many years planned to begin low-volume manufacture of new continuation DeLoreans including, as announced in 2013, an electric version.

However, problems with the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturer’s Act — a US law that allows smaller car makers to avoid some of the regulatory demands placed on bigger manufacturers — meant that this was not possible. By the time the law had been finalised in 2021, the company now known as Classic DMC had decided to focus on restorations rather than new cars.

The owner of Classic DMC does hold an ownership stake in the new electric car company and acts as an advisor, but has no day-to-day role in the running of the firm, according to a source at Classic DMC.

Meanwhile the new DeLorean Motor Company, also Texas-based, is a wholly new entity that has attracted executives from the EV firm Karma Automotive, and the company hit the public consciousness in February after it placed a TV ad during the Superbowl.

DeLorean Alpha5 electric car

The firm intends to become a “full-line manufacturer”, i.e. one with a proper plant whose primary business is making new cars, with not just sports cars but “volume” models, which many interpreted to mean the line-up will include SUVs.

CEO of the new company, Joost de Vries, has also said that the firm would also reveal a series of designs showing how engineers and stylists believe the original design of the DeLorean would have evolved throughout the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s.

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