Opinion: Everyone's A John DeLorean In The Age Of The EV

Opinion / 8 Comments

The more cool EV startups, the less we believe any of them can actually build a car.

I'm going to come in right off the bat and say that I sincerely hope that I am wrong in the opinion I'm going to share with you. That's because there are an absolute ton of seriously cool cars that the world has been promised, and at least a handful of those are cars I would desperately love to see enter production. We've been legally requested not to name particular startups, but recently, we've seen a ton of startups popping up with interesting designs. They look great and have all been thrust into the limelight over the last year as products from one of a hundred new EV startups all taking orders with small deposits for future products replete with grand claims of great range, stellar performance, and styling that harks back to the golden era of 1970s car design.

In theory, these are the perfect EVs for the modern gearhead. There's only one problem - I'm almost certain they will never be built.

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Many of them are the automotive equivalent of vaporware; products announced and teased that never materialize. It's not just one company doing this. Throw a stone and you'll hit an EV startup doing the same. Nikola is one, and even Tesla has done it to a degree - we're looking at you Cybertruck and Roadster. EV startups are the modern equivalent of the auto industry's greatest ever con artist, John DeLorean.

Everyone knows the phrase "fake it till you make it," which was seemingly the creed by which good old John lived. Tell a lie - like drinkable water from your fuel-cell truck - to one investor to get their tentative buy-in, then use their interest to lure another investor. Take these promises to a government in dire need of investment and watch them give you money, and then release a couple of cool designs that the world desperately wants to be true and charge interested parties a nominal fee to reserve theirs when it eventually reaches production. It's a genius scam and one which is becoming more prevalent in the digital age.

2022 Tesla Cybertruck Side Perspective Driving Tesla 2022 Tesla Cybertruck Maximum Cargo Space Tesla 2023 Tesla Roadster Rear Angle View Tesla 2023 Tesla Roadster Side Perspective Driving Tesla
2022 Tesla Cybertruck Side Perspective Driving
2022 Tesla Cybertruck Maximum Cargo Space
2023 Tesla Roadster Rear Angle View
2023 Tesla Roadster Side Perspective Driving

Back in DeLorean's time, you had to actually build a model of a car to attract solid investment, to show your potential investors something tangible. But in the age of the computer, digital renders look more realistic than half the photos I receive in my inbox from genuine tuning companies with decades of experience.

Many of these teased startup EVs look phenomenal. The problem is, all the images we've seen are nothing more than hyper-realistic renders and digital creations. At most, we see a single display model built, but these are generally not actually functional vehicles. With each and every new concept these startups reveal to garner hype, my hope that any of these will actually be produced takes a dive off the end of the pier. To date, we've seen hundreds, and one startup that has legally requested not to be named or have its images be used in this article, has 11 concepts and not a single production model available yet.

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I guess what I'm trying to get at is this: nowadays, we're promised a lot, but we'd do well to take these promises with a pinch of salt. CarBuzz is committed to covering a broad spectrum of automotive news, which means we're all too happy to bring to light these new startups and their designs - we wouldn't be doing our job if we didn't share them with the world.

But the sad thing is that these companies seem to be less and less likely to actually produce anything with each and every new model they announce. Rivian has been one of a few car companies to succeed, but it didn't promise the world, only one or two solid products which it has actually brought to fruition. Elon Musk did the same way back when, giving the world the electric car to prove the viability of electric cars - the Tesla Model S. Since then, he's promised a lot and delivered on little, but at least Tesla is now firmly established as a genuine automaker. But so many have failed, and in the case of Nikola, court cases ensued.

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Like I said at the top of this page, I sincerely hope that I am wrong. I desperately want to see startups succeed and challenge the establishment. I believe that new blood and fresh ideas are great for the industry - just look at how old Musk reinvigorated the auto industry. Above all else, I want nothing more than to see cool retro-designed EVs roaming the streets or even parked in my driveway alongside my two Miatas.

But in the age of digital creation, few companies seem to have the staying power beyond being flash-in-the-pan internet sensations long enough to steal a few thousand bucks in reservation money.

Disclaimer: Images used are not representative of any brands in particular and are visual aids only.

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