DeLorean: It’s back, it’s electric and it plans to challenge Porsche and Tesla

New Alpha5 model gets gullwing doors but ditches the sharp-edged styling

New DeLorean Alpha5

DeLorean, the carmaker that’s jointly most famous for starring in Back to the Future, and for its eponymous boss being arrested for drug dealing, is back and it’s going to make a sleek four-door electric model with which it hopes to compete with Porsche and Tesla.

DeLorean’s new Alpha5 model dispenses almost entirely with the sharp-edged style of the original DMC12 V6-engined coupe, as penned by the great Giorgetto Giugiaro – even though the company he formed, Italdesign, has created the styling for the new Alpha5.

Aside from the gullwing doors, and the louvred cover over the rear window, there’s little enough about the new design that says “DeLorean”. Indeed, those gullwing doors open to reveal a four-seat cabin, compared with the original’s two-seat layout.

New DeLorean Alpha5

Of course, a four-seat DeLorean is technically nothing new – there were plans to build a four-seat saloon model in the original Belfast factory, but those plans were scuppered by DeLorean’s financial implosion in 1982, amid the arrest of John Z DeLorean, the company’s founder, for drug dealing – a charge on which he was later acquitted.

Having only built a handful of cars before going bust, DeLorean went on to be far more famous as the star car of the Back to the Future film franchise, which helped to keep the name alive for many years. The company had, technically, lived on – revived in 1995 as a parts supplier for original models, but is now being reborn again as a proper carmaker under Joost de Vries, who previously held senior posts at both Tesla and Karma.

New DeLorean Alpha5

The new Alpha5 will be built in Italy, which suggests that Italdesign, which has some small-scale production facilities, will be looking after that too. It’s not known if the car’s chassis is designed by DeLorean itself, or shared with another carmaker, but de Vries is promising a 100kWh battery pack, and a range north of 500km, with 0-100km/h coming up in just 2.9secs.

Needless to say, with the BTTF connection, DeLorean is also quoting a 0-142km/h (88 miles/h) time of 4.35 seconds. If you end up back in 1955, it’s your own fault...

New DeLorean Alpha5

Mind you, you won’t be able to hit 88 miles/h on public roads in the new DeLorean. Somewhat bizarrely, the plan is to sell the first limited-edition batch (of which, inevitably, there will be 88 examples) purely as collector’s items, and they won’t be road-legal. Later versions will be, we are assured, along with an SUV model which DeLorean is saying will come with a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain.

Neilo Harris, vice president of the brand, said: “We have been given the opportunity to reimagine a brand that has meant much to so many people from all corners of the globe for four decades. DeLorean has touched so many lives and set the stage for so many memories… We are all now witnessing a new chapter of this amazing story.”

No prices for the Alpha5 have yet been mentioned, but being as the car will be launched at the Pebble Beach Concours d ‘Elegance – one of the world’s most exclusive classic and collectors’ car events – you can bet it won’t be a Renault Zoe competitor. Indeed, DeLorean has been talking the car up as rival to the likes of the Porsche Taycan and the Mercedes-AMG GT.

As well as this new family of electric and hydrogen cars, DeLorean is also planning an upgraded “restomod” version of the original DMC-12 coupe to mark that car’s 40th anniversary this year.