Seventh Sense Blog

McFly’s DeLorean Actually Flies Back To The Future

October 19, 2015

In the 1986 film Back to the Future, Marty McFly, played by actor Michael J. Fox, was able to go back, and forward, in time riding in a souped up DeLorean. The time-travelling automobile was the invention of Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown played by actor Christopher Lloyd.

Marty McFly’s time hopping DeLorean

Even though the futuristic automobile was packed with all sorts of prop electronics and components, the flux capacitor comes to mind, it still had something in common with time-constrained vehicles. It required fuel, gas or petrol if you will.

Not a big deal if you went back in time when gas prices were lower, but a trip to the future? Perhaps carrying a few extra canisters in the trunk would not be a bad idea.

Even a time-travelling car needs gas.

Well that’s just the movies and even today time travel is not an option, although a lot of people believe we are riding into the future in a handbasket, to a “slightly warmer” locale. Be that as it may, art sometimes imitates life and vice versa. And apparently some folks over in Belfast, Northern Ireland are taking that concept seriously.

Under the name QUB Electric DeLorean Project, electrical and electronic engineering students at Queen's University have converted a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 sports car from a gas-burning engine to electrical propulsion. Quite appropriate, Belfast is the home of the DeLorean Motor Company. The project is led by Dr, David Laverty and is sponsored and supported by Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) as part of their engineering education initiative.

Queen’s University engineering students have converted a DeLorean DMC-12 to electrical operation.

The restored and converted vehicle using an electric motor and battery pack will be unveiled on October 21, 2015 at the Ulster Museum. Not so coincidentally, this is the same date Marty McFly travelled in 1989’s Back to the Future II. The high-tech electrical vehicle is said to be the first of its kind in the UK or Ireland and is thought to be the first DeLorean built in Northern Ireland since production came to a halt at DeLorean’s Belfast factory in 1983.

According to Dr, David Laverty, “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.” That definitely sounds like a plan.

About developing the finished vehicle, he points out, “The DeLorean was in a poor state of repair when we took ownership in January 2014, and since then our students have worked to develop the car’s hi-tech electric engine.  We are using the original drivetrain from the DeLorean, including its Renault gearbox, which our students have modified so that it is driven by a 270 horsepower electric motor, giving a top speed of 120 mile per hour.”

An electric car that can hit 120 mph is not too shabby. For more information on Electrical Engineering at Queen’s visit


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