QUB Electric DeLorean 02

Another Back to the Future day tie-in, and what a novel one this is. You’ve seen the nod from Toyota and the homage from Mercedes-Benz, but this one’s quite the trick – it’s a series production DeLorean DMC-12, restored as an electric car.

The car isn’t the work of a private restoration company, but rather the efforts of an institution of higher learning, in this case Queen’s University Belfast. Over the past 18 months, students and staff from the university’s School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science – supported by Northern Ireland Electricity Networks – have painstakingly rebuilt and modified the DMC-12 into an EV.

The Electric DeLorean will be unveiled tomorrow, October 21, 2015, at the Ulster Museum in Belfast, the exact date that Marty McFly went Back To The Future in the second movie of the trilogy. The example, an August 1981 build, is thought to be the first DeLorean to be constructed in Northern Ireland since series production of the DMC-12 ended at the DeLorean Motor Company’s (DMC) Belfast factory in 1983.

QUB Electric DeLorean 01

According to project leader Dr David Laverty, the Queen’s Electric DeLorean was meant to be a learning base for young engineers, equipping them with the knowledge and expertise to build electric vehicles of the future.

“This project was about modifying a car into an electric vehicle, but we wanted to do it in style. The DeLorean was the obvious choice because of its strong connection to Belfast and its starring role in the Back to The Future movies,” he said.

“The DeLorean was in a poor state of repair when we took ownership in January 2014, and since then our students have worked with experts within Queen’s Electrical Energy laboratory – one of the few university facilities in the UK dedicated to teaching and research of electrical generators and motors – to develop the car’s hi-tech electric engine.”

“We have retained the use of the original drivetrain from the DeLorean, including its Renault gearbox, which our students have modified so that it is driven by a 270 hp electric motor, giving a top speed of 193 km/h,” he explained.

Approximately 9,000 examples of the DMC-12 – which was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro – were built by the Dunmurry facility in Belfast. In its original guise, the car was powered by a Peugeot/Renault/Volvo (PRV) 2.85 litre V6 engine built under special contract by PRV in France for DMC.