Here's What The New Electric DeLorean Gets Wrong

The DeLorean Alpha5 EV concept is intended to be a modern iteration of the gullwing-doored, bare aluminum-skinned time machine that starred in the "Back to the Future" movie franchise. Despite the DeLorean monicker, though, the new Alpha5 has nothing to do with the original DeLorean Motor Company that entered bankruptcy in 1982. That hasn't stopped the designers of the Alpha5 from including some of the elements that pay homage to the vintage car we all know and love.

The eye-catching gullwing doors are probably the most obvious example, though they're far wider and more complex than the top-hinged doors of the original DeLorean DMC-12. The turbine wheels and rear window louvers also remind us of Doc Emmet Brown's invention. Finally, the Alpha5 has a slender body by Italdesign, the design house behind the original DeLorean's low-profile, wedge-like styling.

Beyond that, though, the two vehicles diverge. While it may make nods to the original, the new DeLorean Alpha5 is a "clean-sheet design that shares some of the original DNA of the DMC-12," James Espey, VP at Classic DMC, explained to Autoblog. And that's where the confusion starts.

Revolution or Evolution?

It's not difficult to agree that the DeLorean Alpha5 concept is a "clean-sheet" design. Indeed, from some angles it's tricky to see the "original DMC-12 DNA," particularly when the gullwing doors are closed. The Alpha5 has grown significantly over its predecessor, too, though there's a  good reason behind the growth spurt. Equipped with a four-passenger cabin, the Alpha5 is a two-door grand-touring car, and it's possibly more accurate to describe it as a modern version of the DMC-24 four-seat sedan concept that Italdesign penned for DMC before the company went bust. 

According to the DeLorean Long Range Product Plan, the DMC-24 was supposed to be a four-passenger luxury car with aluminum, polyurethane, and carbon fiber body parts riding on an all-aluminum chassis. The sleeker body should have had a drag coefficient of 0.3 or less, and DMC was planning an ambitious "maintenance free system" for the battery, engine management systems, cooling, and suspension joints. Jalopnik claims Italdesign reimagined the DMC-24 mockup when DMC went broke, and it eventually became the Lamborghini Marco Polo concept that debuted at the 1982 Bologna Auto Show. More importantly, the DMC-24 concept resembles the iconic DMC-12 more than the Alpha5 concept with the same four-seat layout.

Not a DeLorean?

So, is the Alpha5 an evolution of the ill-fated DMC-24 concept car, or is it truly a clean-sheet revolution towards a zero-emissions future? Kat DeLorean Seymour, John DeLorean's biological daughter, thinks the answer is neither. "The DeLorean Motor Company is not John DeLorean's company," DeLorean Seymour said in a scathing Instagram post, "DMC is not 40 years old and is not associated with the DeLorean family." She also shared a coupe rendering that resembles a DMC-12 in a more modern form. "Please stop lying and stop speaking about John now; he despised you," added DeLorean Seymour in her post, seemingly referring to the new DeLorean Motor Company and the Alpha5 concept.

Furthermore, DeLorean Seymour shared another rendering on a separate Instagram post about John DeLorean's vision for the DMC-2, a 1,250-horsepower "beast" with a canopy-style cabin, a long wheelbase, and fantastic deep-dish, retro-inspired wheels. There was no mention of the powertrain, but the DMC-2 concept looks ready to pounce with its fighter jet-inspired silhouette. 

From concept to reality

Perhaps our biggest grudge over the DeLorean Alpha5 concept is that for now it only exists in the virtual world. A production-intent Alpha5 will apparently make its official global debut at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance beginning August 21, 2022. The DeLorean Motor Company has yet to reveal the hardware underneath the Alpha5's aerodynamic façade, but it could have a 100 kWh battery and dual electric motors from Williams Advanced Engineering. If everything goes to plan, that could see the Alpha5 to go from zero to 60 mph in about three seconds flat (or roughly zero to 88 mph in 4.35 seconds, if you insist on an iconic movie reference).

The incoming DeLorean Alpha5 EV may not be worthy of a "Back to the Future" remake, but it remains highly anticipated even beyond just bearing the DeLorean name. Production for the Alpha5 will commence in Italy by 2024, the startup insists, and each unit will command a price tag upwards of $200,000. We'll have to wait for the production Alpha5 to hit the streets before passing judgment on whether this new EV will earn Doc Emmet Brown's approval, particularly the exorbitant price tag.