Listen to this article
Reading time: 6 minutes
The DeLorean Motor Company is a brand that lives in the past but will soon return to the future. Auto Futures spoke with DeLorean CEO Joost de Vries to learn more about his upcoming vehicles and the future of the iconic brand.
De Vries had a long career in electric, luxury cars and transportation. He served as vice president of sales and customer experience at Karma Automotive, vice president of global service at Tesla Motors, and vice president of sales administration at Mack Trucks. He also worked with DeLorean in the past.
“We worked with DeLorean owners years ago to try and electrify the 1980s DMC-12. It worked well. However, the required legislation was not passed. We couldn’t build it. “, he explains.
“Then we started digging deeper into the brand. We found that the brand is just incredibly dynamic. So we found the right group of investors, the right group of technologies and designers to bring the brand back. 30-40% of the world already knows about this brand. You don’t have to explain it. We can just make a product for the brand and start as an OEM,” says de Vries.
He says the classic DeLorean will always be the classic DeLorean. The Classic DeLorean Motor Company is also a major shareholder in the new DeLorean Motor Company (DMC).
“We bought the rights to use this brand. John DeLorean and his team built a car that became an instant icon. This brand has grown and expanded since then,” he says.
Of course, a lot of people knew about the original DMC-12 from the Back to the Future movies. Universal Studios owns everything about movies, the first of which was released in 1985, three years after the company went bankrupt. Famously, the DMC-12 was transformed into a time machine thanks to its ‘flux capacitor’, which kicked in when the car reached 88 mph.
In 1995, mechanic Stephen Wynne founded the successor DeLorean Motor Company and acquired the remaining parts stock and the company’s stylized “DMC” logo. DMC has announced that the new DeLorean Alpha5 will be presented at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August.
This new electric model is expected to have a range of over 300 miles, a battery of over 100 kWh and an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.
What features of the classic DeLorean are returning to future models and what new features are coming?
One of the most iconic features of the original DeLorean car was its brushed stainless steel body. However, the new DeLorean vehicles will not be all steel. Instead, de Vries says a more modern cocktail of materials will be used, including carbon fiber, aluminum and a range of composites.
Gullwing doors, however, remain and take up less space than regular car doors thanks to roof-mounted hinges. The slats, or louvers, on the rear window recall the original and also improve aerodynamic efficiency.
“What excites me is our head-up display. We haven’t gone crazy with the size of the screens inside the vehicle. We’ve moved everything to the windshield not only for the driver but also for the passenger. There’s still a dashboard and a center console screen. But they’re not stupid big,” de Vries says.
He’s also pleased that the Alpha5 is a 2+2 coupe with two small rear seats. In order to accommodate the car’s large battery, the Alpha5 has a relatively long wheelbase. This, of course, provided more space inside and allowed for the two rear seats. Despite this, the rear of the car is very narrow and its low, long and thin profile also reduces drag.
“The car had to be beautiful. If you make it a block, it’s not particularly beautiful. So we compromised the headroom in the rear to get the design we wanted,” says de Vries.
However, he says the front seats have plenty of headroom. de Vries himself is 6’4″ tall. Above all, he refers to the DeLorean Alpha5 as a luxury car – not a hypercar.
“We didn’t want to build a hypercar. There are plenty of those around. It’s a fast car. Fast enough for most people. 0-60 in under three seconds is pretty fast. But it doesn’t don’t try to be a hypercar,” says de Vries.
According to de Vries, the Alpha5 competes with models like Porsche’s Taycan, Audi e-Tron GT and, interestingly, the Maserati Quattroporte sedan and its MC20 supercar.
The DeLorean Alpha5 is not a retro car. It was designed as if the original DMC-12 had evolved and improved over the past forty years.
Developing the DeLoreans of the future
He gave more details about the mysterious timeline on DeLorean’s website and the logos of Alpha, Alpha2, Alpha3 and Alpha4. The models will be unveiled over the next few months and showcased at Pebble Beach.
“We built generational vehicles. We came back in 1990 and redesigned the coupe. We went back in 2000 and designed a four-door sedan. We went back to 2010 and built our first SUV to begin to understand what the brand’s DNA would have been if it had never left. All of these vehicles will be at Pebble Beach. We have rebuilt the brand’s entire heritage in forty years,” he says.
Italdesign designed the Alpha5 and all its predecessors.
“A lot of this came out of Italdesign’s archives because they never stopped designing DeLoreans even after the company went bankrupt. We spoke with the original designer, Giorgetto Giugiaro, and his son Fabrizio They never stopped designing either. It was just epic what we found. So we went all the way back,” says de Vries.
How will the new DeLorean Alpha5 Drive work?
According to de Vries, the Alpha5 will be a driver’s car and very chassis-focused. It will have active suspension and rear wheel steering.
“It’s a driver’s car. You’ll have a certain level of autonomy in there with a really big stop button. We want to be the opposite of what some brands are doing now with autonomy and the AIs that save you time. We want to give you quality time to drive – not to sit in a car and do it for you,” says de Vries.
The Alpha5 will feature built-in two-way charging.
“When the car is part of the fabric of your life, it also means your home needs to be connected,” says de Vries.
Where will the DeLorean Alpha5 be made and how much will it cost?
De Vries says the vehicles will be assembled at an existing US plant. DMC will use contract manufacturing, at least for the coupe.
However, he said he couldn’t reveal the expected MSRP or any other pricing details. But, given the list of competitors he mentioned, we can probably assume prices will be well over $100,000.
De Vries credits his time at Tesla for learning how to do business magic.
“The biggest learning moment for me at Tesla was that once you make employee shareholders, the magic happens. We were working seven days a week, twenty hours a day. You can move mountains when a team focuses on running in the same direction,” he says.
“That’s what we’re trying to recreate. Beautiful buildings don’t make businesses. Pretty buildings are pretty things that don’t do business. It’s the people. It’s always about people. That’s why we attach great importance to the human aspect of the car. When you have a motivated team that understands the mission and wants to succeed, the magic happens. It’s not that hard. The chemistry of a successful team is simply amazing. If you look at everything we’ve done with the designers in Italy and us working here in the United States, giving them direction. It was magic, absolute magic,” he enthuses.
It welcomes future DeLorean Alpha pilots.
“When you’re ready – awesome – step into the brand. We welcome you to the journey. It’s going to be exciting,” says de Vries.
What’s next in the future of the DeLorean Motor Company?
“We’ll be showing number six at Pebble Beach and seven at CES,” de Vries said.
“You will see us at public events like the Geneva Motor Show. And you will also see us at other events, which have nothing to do with the automobile. You will see it in surprising places.