Queen’s University Belfast has unveiled its electric DeLorean, on the exact date that Marty McFly went Back To The Future in the iconic Belfast-built car – 21 October 2015.
Doc Brown famously modified the DeLorean as a time machine in the Back to the Future movies, the second of which saw Marty McFly travel to 21 October 2015 to prevent his future son being sent to prison.
On that exact date, Queen’s and NIE Networks will unveil the latest version of the famous car, which students and staff have modified as a hi-tech electrical vehicle – the first of its kind in the UK or Ireland. It is thought to be the first DeLorean to be built in Northern Ireland since production came to a halt at DeLorean’s Belfast factory in 1983.
Students and staff from Queen’s School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, supported by NIE Networks, have painstakingly restored and modified the DeLorean DMC-12 over the last eighteen months.
The project has some serious pointers to the actual future. “In the future, more and more of our energy will come from renewable electricity – whether to power appliances in the home or our means of travel,” said Dr David Laverty, who leads the project and is the ‘Doc Brown’ of Queen’s Electric DeLorean.
“The electrification of transport is a major global challenge, so projects like the Queen’s Electric DeLorean are crucial in equipping young engineers with the knowledge and expertise to build the 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.
The DeLorean was in a poor state of repair when the team took ownership in January 2014, and since then 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.
Using the original drivetrain from the DeLorean, including its Renault gearbox, which the students have modified, it is driven by a 270 horsepower electric motor, giving a top speed of 120 miles per hour.
“As Doc Brown said, ‘if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything’. We are very proud of what our students have accomplished during this project. Queen’s Electric DeLorean has equipped them with the skills, knowledge and experience for a career in electrical engineering.”