DeLorean Goes Electric

Electric DeLorean

Gas? Where we’re going, we don’t need gas.

Back to the Future, the movie to most prominently feature John DeLorean’s gull-winged icon of 1980s cool, ends with the future version of the DeLorean time machine running on household garbage. Well, folks, the future is now, and the new DeLorean doesn’t need gas or rubbish. The DMCEV, which will go into production by 2013, will run entirely on electricity. The expected starting price for the electric DeLorean is $90,000.

The DeLorean Motor Co. in Humble, Texas, is a privately held corporation distinct from the eponymous business John DeLorean sunk in 1982. The DLMC holds the world’s largest stockpile of DeLorean factory parts that it sells to enthusiasts. It also custom-assembles “new” DeLoreans, which start at $57,500 and are made with 80 percent classic parts and 20 percent modern engine and suspension components.

“I’ve always been very interested in electric cars, but once the Tesla was released, we jumped on,”  said Stephen Wynne, CEO of DeLorean Motor. “We actually started the [project] about 4 years ago and finally got it together this year.”

The prototype for the DMCEV has been running for a few weeks, and just debuted at the International DeLorean Owners Event in Houston, where a writer from the blog Jalopnik took a test drive.

Electric DeLorean

The electric motor will be equivalent to 260 horsepower, 44V/156V, and the new DeLorean’s speed will top out at 120 mph. The range on a charge will be 70 to 100 miles, and the battery is expected to last seven years. As with other vehicles propelled without combustion engines, the motor is silent.

There’s no flux capacitor, but the electric vehicle side of the equation is handled by the satisfyingly “Future”-istically named Flux Power, a division of the project’s technology partner Epic EV.

The prototype is about 200 pounds heavier than a standard DeLorean, but that won’t be the norm, Wynne explained. They started with a stock DeLorean and converted it.

“As we’ve been going on, we’ve analyzed the pieces we can take off, and Epic has a boat manufacturing facility,” he said. “[They make a] fiberglass composite for boats…We sent the underbody to Epic in Louisiana and they produced a new body shell for us using  material that’s 50 percent lighter and 4 times stronger.”

So, in addition to being weight saving, therefore more energy efficient, “It’s a much more sturdy piece,” Wynne said.

News of the new electric model has debuted to extreme enthusiasm.

“Yesterday the phone never stopped ringing all day,” said Wynne. Two times over the past day our websites crashed with the activity, and we’re getting media requests from all over the globe.”

Once the DeLorean Motor staff digs themselves out from the media storm, the next step is setting up a system for taking preorders.

Credit: Universal Pictures

“For us it was the car that needed to be made,” Wynne said. “The futuristic look of the DeLorean—it’s a 30-year-old car, but a timeless design. In this modern era of technology and being green and the movie 'Back to the Future'...everybody just gets it.”