Will the Electric DeLorean Finally Make a Success of the Company?

 

It’s been more than thirty years since Marty McFly first stepped into the stainless steel DeLorean and propelled it to the status of a cult icon. Now, the DeLorean is most often seen driven by enthusiasts and film-fans, very often done up to the nines with all of the added extras from Doc Brown’s 1981 DeLorean DMC-12. If you have ever sat on your sofa and watched Back to the Future (and let’s face it, who hasn’t?), you might remember that the car required 1.21 gigawatts of electricity to send it back to the future.

Perhaps ironically, the DeLorean Motor Company have now announced the limited launch of a brand new electric DeLorean, aiming for a release in 2013. It might not require quite so much electricity to get it going – and it probably won’t take you through time – but it certainly seems like a case of life imitating art. Back in the 80s when the car was first launched to the masses, it’s safe to say that it didn’t go down very well. Only 9000 of the cars were made in Northern Ireland between 1981 and 1982, and following low sales (and a bit of trouble with the law) the original DeLorean Motor Company went bankrupt in ’82. So the question has to be asked: will the new electric DeLorean DMC-12 turn things around for the company – and will the DeLorean ever be anything more than a piece of film memorabilia?

New, improved, and emission-free

So what’s new with the electric DMC-12, also known as the DMCev? Well, details at the moment are a little bit thin on the ground, but what we do know is that it will perform much better than its petrol predecessor. With a 260 horsepower engine and top speed of 125mph, the DMCev will reach 0-60 in 4.9 seconds. If these stats are true, that’s a huge improvement over the 1980s original, which is widely known as being incredibly inefficient – and slow. In fact, getting the original DMC-12 to 88mph was a monumental effort – so goodness knows how Doc Brown managed it. The charging point is right in the front grill and the engine is in the rear of the vehicle as on the original model. It will unsurprisingly run whisper quiet and boasts a 32KwH packo of Lithium Ion batteries. As with all electric cars, the DMCev will be limited to a certain range per charge. At present, it’s said to be around 100 miles. We’re not sure how long it takes to fully charge, but based on current electric models, it’ll probably be a good few hours. In this regard at least, the original DMC-12 outstrips the newer model ten-fold.

Will the DMCev be a success?

The DeLorean Motor Company have been refurbishing DMC-12 cars for years now; in fact, you’ve been able to buy one in a practically brand new state ever since they were first launched. There has always been a dedicated group of owners who actively promote DeLorean ownership through conventions, internet forums, and the like. There’s also a plentiful supply of 80s movie fans who’ve always wanted to get their hands on the ‘time machine’. Whether or not this demand alone will be enough to sustain the DeLorean Motor Company through the next decade or more remains to be seen. They’ve already announced that the DMCev is a limited run, and it will cost around £70,000 to own. That’s a fairly restrictive price point for a car which will only go 100 miles per charge. Like all electric cars, it seems that the DMCev will fall victim to the same downsides: low range, long charging times, and a general unsuitability for day-to-day driving.

The enthusiasts are going to relish the chance to own a piece of motoring history reinvented, but whether or not the DMCev will turn it all around for John DeLorean’s ill-fated company is at this point anyone’s guess. It’s hard to imagine seeing those classic gul-wing doors making a regular appearance out on the roads – but anything is possible! Maybe a trip to 2025 would yield some answers?

Anna Pulman