The DeLorean is back — and we didn’t think it was possible — but cooler than before. It might not run off a Mr. Fusion, but the long-awaited return of the memorable car is aiming to be as futuristic as the real-life 2020s can muster.
DeLorean Motor Company has pulled back the curtain on its plan to revive the iconic 1980s car line as an electric vehicle, still defined by its gull-wing doors and futuristic aesthetic. The new DeLorean, dubbed the Alpha 5, looks more likely to roll off the streets of Minority Report as opposed to the alleys of Back to the Future II.
Information on the Alpha 5 EV is still light, but the company claims it will come with a 100kWh battery with a range of 300 miles on a charge. It also looks to be incredibly fast, able to reach 0-60 miles-per-hour in 2.99 seconds. And for the Back to the Future fans who are wondering, it should be able to reach the mythical 88 miles-per hour in 4.35 seconds. That should be more than enough time for lightning to strike the clocktower, probably a few times. Those specs are still preliminary, and there’s still no word on pricing (though expensive seems like a safe guess). The company promises to announce more details with a showcase event in August.
The design makes plenty of upgrades on the 1980s edition (technically called the DMC-12), but still pays homage to the design cues purists would want to see carry over from the original. The back window slats that made the original model’s rear perspective stand out return in the new redesign, though they’ve been slimmed down into a sleek, glassy Tesla-esque swoop. The original’s “DMC” branding has been expanded to simply call out it’s a “DeLorean” on the new EV model, though the font-styling still retains that same futuristic-vibe.
Then of course, there’s the doors. The original DeLorean’s upward-opening, gull-winged doors are the key design quirk that made the 1980’s car feel so cyberpunk in the first place. Anyone who has dreamed of climbing into one of these ala Marty McFly and pulling the door down behind them will be pleased to know the Alpha 5 retains the gull doors, though they’re a whole lot sleeker and sports car-esque than what came before. They even maintain the same angular wing-shaped profile while open, sprouting out from the top and side of the vehicle. It’s one of the most iconic design flourishes in automobile history and looks to be firmly intact here.
Considering the journey of the DeLorean legacy itself is a wild one, it’s no surprise the path to hitting the road on this EV revival is just as windy. Though the Back to the Future films made the DeLorean an untouchable piece of cultural coolness, it’s easy to forget that for all intents and purposes, the car itself was an unmitigated disaster. The DeLorean Motor Company flamed out after just a couple of years in existence in the early 1980s, with the company suffering from quality control issues which only helped contribute to a general lack of demand for the car itself.
By the time the company went bankrupt, it’s estimated to have manufactured around just 10,000 DeLoreans (with around 5,000 or more reportedly still running and on the road today). The gull-winged oddity would’ve likely remained nothing more than a random footnote in the history books for deep cut car buffs, if not for a well-timed cocaine bust in the news (yes, really) right around the time script work was ramping up on the first Back to the Future film.
With his company going belly up in the early 1980s, DeLorean founder John Z. DeLorean was arrested in a high-profile cocaine trafficking case, which was all over the news when Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis were writing the film.
With DeLorean’s car on their minds, they realized its futuristic style made for the perfect plot MacGuffin for their time machine. The rest is film history, and it’s almost certainly why the DeLorean remains as beloved and relevant as ever, to the point we’re getting ready to see a brand new version soon.
Though it bears the same name as the short-lived DeLorean Motor Company, it’s also worth noting the team creating this new EV has pretty much nothing to do with the original one founded by John Z. DeLorean. When the rights to the DeLorean brand became available, a Texas-based company that manufactured replacement parts for the original car acquired the brand and established a new DeLorean Motor Company. Here’s hoping the 2.0 version has better luck.