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Test drive: 'Back to the Future' DeLorean electric car [video]

Test drive: 'Back to the Future' DeLorean electric car [video]

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The De Lorean Motor Company recently announced that it's readying an all-electric version of the DMC-12 for 2013.

Electric cars have been heralded as the motorized wave of the future for quite some time now. But for those who still need convincing, how about an electric car that's actually from the future?

Alright, so the vehicle I'm talking about isn't actually from the future, it just played one in the classic hit movie "Back to the Future." The De Lorean Motor Company, started in 1995 to resurrect production of the iconic car, recently announced that it's partnering up with electric-car startup Epic EV to ready an all-electric version of the DMC-12 for 2013.

The new model will feature a 260 hp electric motor powered by a flux power lithium ion phosphate battery -- a combination that should offer a driving range of at least 70 miles on a charge. As for the price tag? Well, salivating fans might want to start saving now as it will cost roughly $100,000, though that might be considered a steal considering that one of the original models used in film being auctioned off in December is expected to fetch somewhere in the ballpark of $400,000 to $600,000. (who ever said car celebrities were affordable?)

Along with drudging up some long-buried 80's nostalgia, some odd, lesser-known facts about the classic cult car have started to surfaced. For instance, who knew that while the original manufacturer has long gone out of business after selling only about 9,000 of them, DMC has retained a good supply of the original factory parts to not only service the remaining models on the road, but also build new ones. Or that the original model was drawn up by legendary supercar designer Giorgetto Giugiaro and had the investment backing of Johnny Carson and Sammy Davis Jr.. Sadly, owner John DeLorean got arrested on drug trafficking charges shortly after the first models rolled off the production line and a few months later the company was forced to declare bankruptcy.

Kevin Mccauley of Jalopnik.com got a chance to test drive a pre-production prototype that DMC president president Stephen Wynnejokingly refers to as version 0.9. Here's a snippet of his assessment:

I drove a couple laps slowly, getting a feel for the firm, weighty steering and heavy effort needed to push both pedals (even the parking brake requires some force). Wynne, grinning, encourages me to get on the power hard on the next straightaway.

When someone gives you permission to go all Daytona USA in an electron-powered DeLorean, you just turn your brain off and do what the man says.

I grip the thick, DMC-customized Momo steering wheel tighter and open up the throttle throttle as we exit the banking. It surges forward. It feels like a car carrying bit of weight, but now with more than enough torque to overcome its heft.

We whisk down the too-short straight and arrive almost instantly at the next corner without making sound. This is making sense. If the DMCEV can do 0-to-60 mph in 4.9 seconds as DMC claims, it will finally pack the performance that the Giugiaro body has been promising all these years.
If the DMCEV can maintain such performance while producing a reasonable range it'll be an accomplishment given the electric system adds about 200 pounds to the weight of the car, despite the lack of engine and transmission. DMC plans to offset this with a an all-new resin infused composite underbody they've developed with Epic EV that is hundreds of pounds lighter.

Overall, the DeLorean sounds like a quality, high-performance electric vehicle, though it still doesn't justify the price in my mind. But considering replicas of Marty Mcfly's shoes were snapped up for as much as $37,500, I wouldn't be surprised if some of those fans needed a replica time machine to
match.

(via Jalopnik)

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Tuan Nguyen

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Tuan C. Nguyen is a freelance science journalist based in New York City. He has written for the U.S. News and World Report, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC News, AOL, Yahoo! News and LiveScience. Formerly, he was reporter and producer for the technology section of ABCNews.com. He holds degrees from the University of California Los Angeles and the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure