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SYFY WIRE Back to the Future

The Alpha5 Is Bringing the DeLorean Back to the Future

Unfortunately, we still need roads.

By Cassidy Ward

The DeLorean DMC-12’s outsized cultural impact is matched only by its incredibly brief life. The first of John DeLorean’s bizarre stainless steel cars rolled off the line in 1981 and the company shuttered two years later. In fact, the company had been dead two years before the DMC-12 made a glorious onscreen return in 1985’s Back to the Future, streaming now on Peacock.

Though, the company’s growing cultural cache could do nothing to revive it. The company met with economic and mechanical problems (not to mention some legal trouble for its owner) which resulted in its untimely death. But the car’s arresting design, namely the vertically rising gullwing doors, made the DeLorean DMC-12 an enduring part of popular culture.

Bringing the DeLorean Back from the Dead

1982 DeLorean, 2000.

A decade after the theatrical release of Back the Future, in 1995, the DeLorean logo and remaining parts inventory were acquired and relaunched as the DeLorean Motor Company. Rumors of new models have been swirling ever since, but as yet, none have materialized.

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Having spent decades as the leading source of parts for owners of the estimated 6,000 DMC-12s still rolling around out there, the DeLorean Motor Company shifted gears and announced a fully electric DeLorean known as the Alpha5. The vehicle, designed but not yet in production, is slated to have a 100-kwh battery providing more than 300 miles of range on a charge. And unlike its predecessor, it’s going to have plenty of get up and go, capable of getting from 0 to 88 miles per hour in just 4.4 seconds.

Following up what is perhaps the most recognizable car ever made is no easy feat, so the DeLorean Motor Company partnered with Italian design firm ItalDesign Giugiaro, headed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, who designed the original DeLorean DMC-12. Rather than try to jump directly from the DMC-12 to the Alpha5, the company worked with ItalDesign to craft a complete, fictional design history, filling the space between 1983 and today.

They imagined what the next DeLorean after the DMC-12 might have been, had it been released in the ‘80s, and what the follow-up to that would have been, and so on. In a way, the Alpha5 isn’t a direct follow up to the DMC-12 but is instead several steps along the automotive evolutionary tree, built upon the backs of decades-worth of other DeLoreans, none of which were ever actually produced. The result is a modern EV which retains the signature gullwing doors but little else from its original inspiration.

What We Know About the DeLorean Alpha5

An image of a DeLorean Alpha5 that characters can been seen driving in Fast X

When the Alpha5 was announced, the DeLorean Motor Company had plans to produce 9,531 units, one more than the original run of DMC-12s. Since then, the company cut production to just 4,000 units, citing supply chain problems.

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If you want to get your hands on the next generation of DeLorean, when it eventually starts rolling off the line sometime after the middle of 2024, you’ll need to go through an unusual preorder process. First, you have to drop $88 on a lifetime membership to the Alpha club. Membership grants you the right to then purchase a randomized production slot in the form of what is essentially an NFT.

In exchange for $3,497, customers get a Digital-Twin avatar — a virtual representation of your car, transparent at first but later filled in with whatever color choices and customization options you choose — digital wallet, and production reservation. Once purchased, you can then trade or sell your avatar and with it, the opportunity to own one of a limited number of Alpha5s produced over the next six years or so.

If all of that sounds like too much of a hassle, you could always find Doc Brown, some nuclear fuel (or a rogue lightning blast) and travel back to 1981 to get a DeLorean while the getting’s good.

While traveling through history, carve out a little time to watch Back to the Future, streaming now on Peacock.