Building a DeLorean that Doc would be proud of.Queen’s University Belfast
October 21, 2015, is the day Marty McFly arrives in the future in “Back to the Future Part 2.” People around the world will celebrate Back to the Future Day in a number of different ways, but Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) in Ireland has its own unique take on the day with a special hometown hero — the university is using tomorrow’s “holiday” to unveil an all-electric DeLorean.
The project, which is run by QUB’s School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, aims to educate students of all ages. The QUB students involved in the project get to learn the ins and outs of developing an electric car, and younger students will be able to see the finished product as it travels the country to get young’uns interested in STEM careers.
QUB found its DeLorean in a shed in 2014, stripped down as most half-finished-but-now-ignored project cars tend to be. Since then, the university has been hard at work restoring the body and adding its new electric drivetrain. The battery pack is a 27kWh unit sourced from China, and the 270-horsepower electric motor comes by way of Bulgaria. The car will retain its original five-speed manual transmission, but the suspension and chassis were strengthened to accommodate the additional weight of the motor and battery.
While its unveiling comes at a perfect time, it’s not exactly breaking any new ground. Already, a group of Australians have conceived and built an all-electric DeLorean. The man who owns the rights to the DeLorean name has also considered building and selling an electric variant, as well.
The DeLorean DMC-12 (the car’s full name) is quite the unique ride, sporting stainless-steel body panels and gull-wing doors. It was the brainchild of John DeLorean, an American engineer who designed cars for General Motors before splitting off and starting his own company. The vehicle was sold in the United States from 1981 to 1983, but it was built just five miles from Belfast, Ireland. Powered by a rear-mounted six-cylinder engine, DeLorean sold about 9,000 units before the company shut down — due in part to DeLorean’s arrest for cocaine trafficking.
Now, if only the Chicago Cubs could get to winning the World Series.