Northern Ireland

DeLorean car comes back to the future with electric version

DeLorean electric car
Image caption The battery-powered DeLoreans retain the unique gull-wing design and silver exterior

A new DeLorean model is to be launched, almost 30 years after the last one rolled off the production line at the ill-fated factory near Belfast.

While it will retain its distinctive silver gull-wing design, this new version will run on electricity.

DeLorean CEO Stephen Wynne said their intent was to bring back that classic design into the future.

"The exterior is so iconic that we didn't want to mess with it," he said.

"Basically, we took out all of the combustion engine, components and transmission, and replaced that with battery packs and an electric motor.

"As soon as electric cars became popular again, it seemed that the obvious thing that needed to happen was to make an electric DeLorean.

'Cool'

"The electric cars that I'm seeing out there now are nice, but they're not cool cars. With a DeLorean, you've now got a cool electric car."

The Texas-based company has no connection with the original firm nor the estate of John DeLorean, who was still wanted in the UK on charges of fraud at the time of his death in 2005 at the age of 80.

Image caption It's not a flux capacitor, it's the battery which will power the new-style DeLoreans

The enduring appeal of the Back to the Future films has ensured that the cars retain a cult following, and Mr Wynne admitted "the movie's influence on the brand has been heavy".

Twenty-six years after the release of the first Back to the Future film, 1985 is almost as far from the present-day as 1955 was for the film's hero Marty McFly when he travelled back in time.

Even at the time of the film's release, the original DeLoreans were a thing of the past.

The original company had collapsed three years before, with fewer than 9,000 cars rolling off the production lines at the Dunmurry plant.

Mr Wynne is originally from Liverpool but went to live in the US to work as a mechanic in the early 1980s around the time that DeLoreans were being built in Dunmurry on the outskirts of Belfast. He ended up working on repairing those original cars, before developing his business.

He said the appeal of the car was "possibly more retro than futuristic", but that the design remained timeless.

"Because there were no follow-up models as the company went out of business, it's as if the design is frozen in time," he said.

The company plans to put the electric DMC-12 into production by 2013.

It will have a top speed of 120 miles per hour, and it will cost $90,000 (£56,455).

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