An attempt to electrify an iconic car has run into its first speed bump. Earlier this month, electric vehicle company Karma Automotive filed suit against DeLorean Motors Reimagined, a Texas-based company that holds the branding rights for the original DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) and four of its employees, alleging stolen intellectual property. has been applied.
Broadly speaking, Karma claims that DeLorean Motors Reimagined only exists because a joint venture between the two didn’t work out. In a lawsuit filed on August 8 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Karma alleged that four DeLorean employees — CEO Jost de Vries, COO Alan Yuan, Vice President Nilo Harris and Chief Marketing Officer Troy Beetz — had taken over the company’s business. Stole. The secret, which he used to launch DeLorean Motors Reimagined. The company has said it plans to sell electric versions of the revived ’80s sports car.
According to the lawsuit, negotiations between Karma and DMC began in 2020 “around DMC’s goal of electrifying the famed DeLorean vehicle, which will help both companies achieve future speeds of up to 88 mph.” (This is a reference to the 1985 film back in the futurewhich famously had a DeLorean time machine.)
Instead, the joint venture failed, and the defendants went on to form their own venture with Karma’s confidential information. “They secretly took confidential karma information, materials and templates,” the lawsuit reads. “They actively hid information from Karma to prevent Karma from pursuing the project or finding out what individual defendants were doing. Then one by one they left Karma.”
in a statement received by Automotive News, De Vries said: “The potential Karma/DMC project died due to Karma’s inability to fund or produce the deliverables needed to pursue negotiations with DMC. DeLorean Motors Reimagined is a completely new entity with a complete It is a new electric vehicle which is not related to the low volume replica project. We expect the court to look into this groundless trial in short order.”
The lawsuit comes after the San Antonio City Council approved a $562,500 stimulus package for DMC in April, which paved the way for the company to apply for $1.25 million in tax refunds to set up its headquarters in the city. The package requires DMC to create 450 jobs by the end of 2026, paying an average salary of $145,600.
Karma Automotive was formed when Wanxiang, a Chinese company, bought several assets from bankrupt EV startup Fisker Karma. The company then rebranded itself as Karma Automotive and produced a smaller lineup, which also included a Karma-based hybrid sports car known as the Revero. The company has shared ambitions to build all-electric vehicles as well as sell the underlying technology, but has struggled to find its footing.
This isn’t Karma’s first lawsuit. Two years ago, the company sued Lordstown Motors, an Ohio-based electric-truck firm that stole trade secrets and poached employees involved in the development of infotainment technology.