San Antonio is providing the spark for DeLorean's new electric vehicle testing and engineering
DeLorean picked the Alamo City as its new headquarters, and it's exciting for owners of the original car, who are eager to see the new one.
Dr. Emmett Brown once said, “if you’re going to build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?”
In the eyes of movie fans, car enthusiasts, and DeLorean Motor Company’s new CEO, the stainless-steel coupe in the Back to the Future movies is one of the most iconic cars of all time, if not, the MOST iconic.
DeLorean will be rolling out an all-new electric vehicle soon, and San Antonio will play a significant role in engineering, testing, and validating the new car.
DeLorean Motor Company’s headquarters are at Port San Antonio, but the vehicle will be manufactured at an existing plant in Canada, although there may be future plans for expanding the San Antonio plant.
See the full conversation with DeLorean CEO Joost de Vries as well as perspective from DeLorean DMC 12 owner Rob Wyckoff below:(article continues underneath).
There may be some prototypes of the vehicle at their headquarters, but the company is making sure the car won’t be seen in public before it makes its official debut.
There are several reasons why San Antonio was picked over other cities around the country, which is creating excitement with at least one owner of the original DeLorean.
Chapter 1: DeLorean EVolved
An average 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 would produce 130 horsepower and 153 lb-ft of torque out of a V6 engine. Specifications of the new car will go well beyond that.
The new DeLorean, an electric all-wheel-drive coupe will be powered by a massive 100kwh battery pack and will have an estimated 300-mile EPA range.
“We will be the absolute opposite of the iPad on wheels,” DeLorean CEO Joost de Vries told KENS 5 said this car is not for people who just want to go from A to B.
De Vries says the car could go from 0 to 60 in three seconds, with top speeds at 155 MPH (we’re not sure what happens at 88). He admits it’s not a hypercar, but it will be a luxurious vehicle any enthusiast will enjoy.
“Autonomous driving, when we have to, we’ll have it. Adaptive cruise control, as long as there’s an off button, it’s fine…Everything we do in that vehicle, suspension-wise, performance-wise, comfort-wise, it’s for people that love to drive,” he said.
We don’t know what it looks like completely, but based on the one rendering released so far, the car will sport LED rear taillights and a wide body. More images will come in May or June, de Vries says people are going to love it.
De Vries didn’t release pricing, availability, or say how many vehicles will be produced out of the gate, but he said they will make as few cars as they can get away with.
Production is expected to start in the summer, before the first vehicle will debut in person in August at the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, California.
“I don’t want to have people’s money for the next two years waiting for a car. That makes no sense…there will be a pre-series, we expect that will be sold out before we even go public,” de Vries adds.
Chapter 2: Ties to an icon
Designing the car meant some compromise. But some features had to stay, like the gull-wing doors.
“That was a must-have,” de Vries said.
He says the shape of the DMC-12 had an iconic B pillar, which is preserved in the new vehicle. What’s changed includes the stance, and materials, but design perks like louvers were kept because engineers were able to make it aero efficient.
“It’s a big car, once you get closer the car shrinks…then the doors open and it’s like ‘okay, we’re in the DeLorean,’” de Vries says heartbeat lighting will be kept over the front and rear of the vehicle.
De Vries said after meeting a group of DeLorean owners in Central Florida—he understands just how passionate people are about the classic car, including people like Rob Wyckoff from San Antonio.
Wyckoff spent 1,000 hours converting a DeLorean he bought from a man in Kerrville into a full-blown replica of the time machine from the movies. The answer to why he did is simple.
“I love cars, and I’m a child of the ’80s. I named my son Maverick if that gives you any idea…having a time machine, at least to me, this is the ultimate car,” Wyckoff said.
His DeLorean has been used in events around San Antonio to raise money for non-profits and children’s hospitals. In fact, there’s a company that rents time machines like his.
He isn’t skeptical at all about DeLorean’s return but is ready to see what the car looks like first before he cashes in.
“The nostalgia factor is why I’m excited. What the end product ends up being will determine whether or not I try to buy one,” Wyckoff said.
Chapter 3: "Hidden Gem"
It was a surprise to some that DeLorean planted its flag in South Texas.
“When I saw the mayor announce that, I nearly fell out of my chair,” Wyckoff said.
Wyckoff did not see the commercial that aired in the Super Bowl (he immediately watched it after) but was excited to hear about San Antonio’s contributions.
“You think for something like that: LA, or, you know, even in Texas, Dallas, Houston, some gigantic city. But to have DeLorean in my own backyard is, I’m really excited about it,” Wyckoff adds.
Weeks after the mayor’s announcement—the San Antonio City Council approved $562,000 in economic incentives for DeLorean to create the 450 jobs promised, but de Vries says the ambition is much higher than that number.
“San Antonio offered a 360-degree view that was appealing to us from a long-term perspective, the connections with academia, school programs...it made it very appealing,” de Vries said after the vote was unanimously passed.
Although city council members were skeptical, councilmember Dr. Adriana Rocha Garcia said the performance-based incentives will be paid as DeLorean meets the job requirements.
“We wanted to make sure residents felt comfortable in our decision, and we put together this performance package which, again, it’s based on what they do…we’re not losing any money upfront,” Dr. Rocha Garcia said.
Bexar County commissioners are also giving the company tax breaks over 10 years as long as those job requirements are met.
De Vries said with automakers like Navistar, Toyota, Tesla in Austin, San Antonio’s academia, and the proximity to the University of Monterrey, it was an easy decision to make.
“You’re open for business,” De Vries said.
Chapter 4: Sparking EV interest
Is San Antonio ready for electric vehicles? De Vries doesn’t believe the support is there, yet.
“In the whole of San Antonio, there’s one level three charger,” he said.
“I have to go to a specific Wal-Mart parking lot to charge for 40 minutes. It’s not convenient,” de Vries added.
According to Forbes, Level 2 charging is most common and can be installed at home and in public locations. Level 3 includes fast charging. The City of San Antonio says it will be setting up 50 different electric vehicle charging stations across the city at libraries, parks, parking lots, and other convenient places.
“We’re kind of doing that as a stopgap measure until a greater, more robust network comes online,” Julia Murphy, deputy chief sustainability officer for the City of San Antonio said. Murphy says President Joe Biden’s plan to deploy EV infrastructure will ensure the national network can provide EV charging for all.
Murphy believes that DeLorean’s headquarters coming to San Antonio will also encourage people to go electric. She says the number of registrations for electric vehicles has doubled in the past few years.
In 2021, Texas had the third-highest number of registered electric vehicles across all 50 states, according to the US Department of Energy.
“That’s an industry that's developing its cutting edge. And I certainly think it's going to be raise our visibility for being an EV-friendly city for sure,” Murphy said.
Depending on a driver’s needs, electric vehicles can get pricey but there are some affordable options. A Nissan Leaf can start at $27,400 while Tesla’s Model 3 can start at $42,690. The DeLorean’s price hasn’t been revealed yet, but the market is there for various kinds of electric vehicles.
“The market will balance itself out, but for now it is uncharted territory for most people,” de Vries said.
If you want to learn more about electric vehicles, you can check out the city’s website.