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The DeLorean Motor Company is back, but not exactly as you might remember it.
The classic nameplate is being rebooted as an electric car brand with a new headquarters in San Antonio, Texas.
Its first model coming in 2024 is called the Alpha5 and features gullwing doors like the classic DeLorean DMC-12 of the 1980s, but it is an otherwise very different car. Its body is much more curvaceous and not made from stainless steel, and it’s also much larger than the original.
Rather than a two-seat sports car, it’s a four-seater that’s as long as a Tesla Model S or Porsche Taycan sedan. DeLorean CEO Joost de Vries told The Fox Garage there’s a practical reason for this.
The DeLorean Alpha5 is an all-electric vehicle. (DeLorean)
“One of the negatives of going electric is you need to package a lot of battery,” de Vries said. “If you package a lot of battery, you need a big wheelbase, and when you have a big wheelbase, you get a big car.”
The gullwing coupe has four seats. (DeLorean)
The DeLorean team turned lemons into lemonade by stretching the roofline and carving out room for two rear seats, albeit small ones that make it more of a 2-plus-2 than a full four-seat sedan.
“It’s really not for people like me who are 6-foot-4. You won’t be able to sit there,” de Vries said.
The Alpha5 was designed with a 100-kilowatt-hour battery pack. (DeLorean)
The Alpha5 is designed around a 100-kilowatt-hour battery pack that will provide over 300 miles of driving range, which is quickly becoming the minimum standard for electric vehicles. Nearly all electric vehicles on sale today are either sedans or SUVs, largely because of the same sort of packaging constraints.
The smallest electric vehicle available in the U.S. is the Mini Cooper SE, which has a 32.6-kilowatt-hour battery pack that’s only rated for 110 miles of driving between charges. It’s based on the gasoline-powered model, however, and not optimized for having an electric battery installed.
The Chevrolet Bolt EV has a 65-kilowatt-hour battery pack and a 259-mile driving range between charges. (Chevrolet)
The purpose-built Chevrolet Bolt EV four-door subcompact hatchback is about a foot longer with double the capacity and a range of 259 miles per charge. But it isn’t a high-performance model like the DeLorean that can accelerate to 60 mph in under three seconds and will deplete its charge more quickly when driven with spirit on a track rather than being used around town or for cruising on a highway.
Don’t expect to see a two-seat DeLorean anytime soon, either. De Vries says the company’s next model is slated to be an SUV.