Engineering students get to work on the coolest projects. Students in the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science program at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) in Ireland are taking the cake today as they unveil the all-electric DeLorean they’ve been building – just in time for Back to the Future Day. Today, October 21, 2015, is the farthest future date Marty and Doc travel to in the second film of the trilogy, and it’s being celebrated around the world with all sorts of themed projects – many of which are centered around this very recognizable and beloved car.
Fans of the film are chomping at the bit to see the electric DeLorean in action, especially near Belfast, which many people do not realize is the physical birthplace of the unmistakeable vehicle. Although the cars were sold in the United States for just a few years in the early 1980s, all 9,000 DeLoreans were built in a Belfast factory. The QUB engineering students found their DeLorean in a shed in 2014, and the car had already been partly stripped down. The team wasted no time in delving into the restoration project, which includes a custom electric drivetrain built from Chinese and Bulgarian parts.
The QUB’s all-electric DeLorean is slated to travel the country on display in an attempt to get younger students interested in STEM careers. If they’ve seen even just the first Back to the Future film, it should work.
Belfast isn’t the only place on Earth where the DeLorean is being celebrated today – not by a long shot. Elsewhere on the planet, other models of the classic car have also undergone special treatment. At Stanford University in California, a team just revealed a secret project of their own: a self-drifting electric DeLorean, which they’ve nicknamed “Marty.” Although it’s not the first autonomous drifting car, everyone involved agrees it has to be the first self-drifting DeLorean – although it doesn’t leaving flaming skidmarks behind. Sorry, folks.
Across the globe in Japan, another DeLorean retrofit actually seeks to make the car more like it was in the first movie. If you recall (and who doesn’t?), Doc’s first time machine got its energy from every day garbage (and a little help from the flux capacitor, of course). Serial entrepreneur Michihiko Iwamoto has longed for his very own DeLorean since he first saw the movies, and he was inspired to make his DeLorean an example of the power of renewable energy. He bought the car from a U.S. seller (for an undisclosed sum) and paid over $40,000 to have it shipped to Japan, where he outfitted his own ‘time machine’ to run on bioethanol that comes from recycled cotton clothing. It’s not quite the banana peels and coffee cups of Doc’s time, but it’s a pretty brilliant way to reuse something that would otherwise be wasted.
If you’re out and about in the Big Apple today, you might even be able to score a free ride in a DeLorean. Lyft has added a temporary “McFly Mode” option to its app, allowing users to request a special ride on this now-sacred day in time.
Images via QUB