Belfast students to unveil electric DeLorean for Back to the Future day

21 Oct 2015

The Electric DeLorean near completion. Image via QUB

As the world celebrates Back to the Future Day as a day when many technological marvels we had hoped for didn’t actually come to pass, students from Queen’s University in Belfast (QUB) are about to unveil an all-electric DeLorean car.

As many of you surely know, October 21, 2015, is not just today’s date, but it is also the day in the legendary Back to the Future film that Marty and Doc travelled to, revealing a world of hoverboards, self-tying shoes and holographic shark attacks.

But bringing us back to reality, the QUB team from its School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science isn’t unveiling self-tying shoes, but has totally re-engineered a DeLorean to run entirely off electric energy.

However, some might be disappointed that there is no ‘Mr Fusion model fusion generator’ to power the car off rubbish.

The project has been an attempt to show other QUB students the inner workings of an electric vehicle (EV) and it will soon travel Ireland to promote the option of STEM careers.

While not exactly a Mr Fusion-powered engine, the QUB team has managed to acquire a 270hp Bulgarian electric motor and 27kWh battery pack from a Chinese aerospace firm, according to CarTalk.

It would seem entirely appropriate that a university from Northern Ireland would give the legendary car a new lease of life given that it was originally produced in the country, although this model was found abandoned in a shed in Co Leitrim just last year.

And now under the leadership of their own Doc Brown – Dr David Laverty – the project will be given its full debut today in the hope of encouraging further work in the electrification of the world’s transport systems.

“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,” Dr Laverty said. “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. As Doc Brown said, ‘if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything’.”

It’s also probably best to clarify that, where it’s going, it probably needs roads.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic