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Back to the electric future
April 1, 2012 9:22 AM   Subscribe

DeLorean goes electric: Due to hit the market in early 2013, the company says the DMC-EV will cost $90,000 (£57,000) and is aiming for a first production run of 300 vehicles.
posted by marienbad (64 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm holding out for the Flux Capacitor.
posted by HuronBob at 9:28 AM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


"But how many times a year do you honestly go on a road trip when you use your own car? You typically rent a car, because you don't want to put mileage on your own car."

What? People do this?
posted by clorox at 9:29 AM on April 1, 2012 [27 favorites]


Yes another Back to the Future reference!
posted by swift at 9:31 AM on April 1, 2012


Hey, I waited 6 minutes for one of you bozo's to post that, or for a Mod to forbid it, but evidently you were all asleep at the keyboard (or out on your hoverboards).

Seriously, 15 hours to charge for a 100 mile range, That's just barely enough time between when you get home from work and have to leave again in the morning, and doesn't take into account commute time... seems problematic to me.
posted by HuronBob at 9:34 AM on April 1, 2012


I used to rent cars for road trips when I owned scary $500 beaters and didn't want to be stranded on Rt. 80 at night in a broken down Plymouth but if I'm paying $90,000 for a car, I'd like to take it on the road.
posted by octothorpe at 9:35 AM on April 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


This conversion was done by Flux Power, who are a bunch of hacks. I wouldn't expect this thing to have any reasonable amount of reliability. It's really just a hobby conversion that they're doing 300 of.
posted by TheJoven at 9:39 AM on April 1, 2012


No, no, no! This sucker's electrical!
posted by scrowdid at 9:54 AM on April 1, 2012 [11 favorites]


Flux capacitor? I seem to remember that the Delorean had a problem with the cocaine inductor.
posted by three blind mice at 9:56 AM on April 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


The video with the rep talking... horrible. The guy is a horrible spokesman not for the things he said but the way he said them.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 9:59 AM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do it with a Bricklin, and I might be interested. Deloreans are hideous.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:04 AM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm holding out until april 2nd
posted by Jibuzaemon at 10:10 AM on April 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


Still holding out for Mr. Fusion.
posted by Fizz at 10:15 AM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah, I remember that, it was epic! And then he said "play fuckin' loud", and the audience went wild, and then ol' Pete Seeger kicked the plug out of the wall and George Wein told him to . . .




what?
 
posted by Herodios at 10:18 AM on April 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


The problem is not the price. The problem is that it need 1.21 gigawatt of electricity to run.
posted by TNLNYC at 10:18 AM on April 1, 2012


The problem is not the price. The problem is that it need 1.21 gigawatt of electricity to run.

Don't worry I have all your clocktower problems satisfied.
posted by Fizz at 10:22 AM on April 1, 2012


I don't see this selling to anyone other than nostalgic car nuts who grew up in the 80s. The all-electric is a great idea but the range and charge time make it useless as anything other than a second (or third) vehicle.
posted by tommasz at 10:24 AM on April 1, 2012


Gas stations? Where we're going we don't need gas stations (but we will need an outlet and 15 hours to spare every 100 miles)
posted by ian1977 at 10:28 AM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Next thing you'll tell me Jerry Lewis is the Secretary of the Treasury!
posted by jonp72 at 10:29 AM on April 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't see this selling to anyone other than nostalgic car nuts who grew up in the 80s.

*raises hand* Hi. Sign me up for one as soon as I can afford it.
posted by strixus at 10:40 AM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sounds great, but the limited range is gonna kill this thing. For a lot of people living in the 'burbs, 100 miles wouldn't even account for a single day's use.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:52 AM on April 1, 2012


As soon as I can afford $90k for one of these, I'll spend a quarter of that on a decent useful vehicle and invest the other $68k.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:54 AM on April 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


I am torn between "waaaant" and "why can't they make it not suck," which is silly because, you know, DeLorean.

But I still sorta want one anyway.
posted by cmyk at 10:55 AM on April 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't see this selling to anyone other than nostalgic car nuts who grew up in the 80s.

Joey Jeremiah drives a Delorean.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:58 AM on April 1, 2012


I rode in a DeLorean once, back in the day, at about 100 mph. It was fun. The driver was a neighbor who was the cokeheaded scion of a 'family,' (you know what I mean). Years later, he had separated from his wife, and I was babysitting his kids when he offered me Thai Stick to tell him who his wife was out with. I didn't tell him. Later on, I found a porno tape of his wife and her boyfriend, but that's a whole other story.
posted by jonmc at 11:05 AM on April 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


jonmc, that's the best April Fools story, like, ever in history.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:20 AM on April 1, 2012


Seriously, 15 hours to charge for a 100 mile range, That's just barely enough time between when you get home from work and have to leave again in the morning...

You could buy two of them, for alternate days. Or keep one charging at work, the other charging at home, and swap after each drive. You could buy several and leave them charging at 100 mile increments all over the state, just in case.
posted by ceribus peribus at 11:21 AM on April 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


(except for the fact that I'm not making it up) (really)
posted by jonmc at 11:21 AM on April 1, 2012


What's the tax deduction for purchasing an electric vehicle in the US again?
posted by radwolf76 at 11:33 AM on April 1, 2012


Jonmc reveals the plot to Back To The Future IV...
posted by marienbad at 11:47 AM on April 1, 2012


The 'mc' does not stand for 'mcfly.'
posted by jonmc at 11:49 AM on April 1, 2012


"The original DeLorean factory closed in 1982, just one year after it opened, because of a steep decline in sales owing to lengthy snow storms in the US."
Snow storms?
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:51 AM on April 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Years later, he had separated from his wife, and I was babysitting his kids when he offered me Thai Stick to tell him who his wife was out with
So I do a Google search for "Thai Stick" because I have no idea what it was. Turns out there are a bunch of restaurants in the bay area called "Thai Stick"
posted by delmoi at 11:55 AM on April 1, 2012


That's not what I'm talking about.
posted by jonmc at 12:00 PM on April 1, 2012


A DeLorean is about the *worst* possible chassis to convert as an electric car. One of the myriad reasons why the car failed in the first place is because stainless steel is really heavy. Weight is the enemy of performance, and this is especially true for electric cars, who have a different performance profile and already have to deal with the intense weight of their own batteries.

I'd be surprised if they sold all 300 of them, especially at their initial $90K price point. People love Back To The Future, but if you're somebody who has enough disposable income to drop $90K on a toy to commemorate your love for this movie, you're somebody who has enough sense to just buy a *real* DeLorean to sit motionless in your showroom.
posted by workingdankoch at 12:03 PM on April 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


The problem is that it need 1.21 gigawatt of electricity to run.

No, only to travel through time. The internal combustion engine runs on ordinary gasoline — it always has.
posted by John Cohen at 12:14 PM on April 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


They look cool and Back To the Future was a great film, but let's not beat around the bush here - the DeLorean DMC-12 was a terrible car - an underpowered Lotus with dodgy electrics that weighed a ton and was put together by a workforce that didn't know what they were doing.
posted by kersplunk at 12:23 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


HuronBob writes "Seriously, 15 hours to charge for a 100 mile range, That's just barely enough time between when you get home from work and have to leave again in the morning, and doesn't take into account commute time... seems problematic to me."

No car can be all things to all people. If you are like me and your commute is 50km round trip that charge time drops down to less than 7 hours and everything is just fine. I've been more than 160km round trip from home twice in the last two years for which I can easily rent a car.
posted by Mitheral at 12:51 PM on April 1, 2012


It's not a 100 mile range, it's actually only a 50 mile range. Range is half the distance you can go: It's how far you can go and still come back

Anyway, the Nissan Leaf and chevy volt have about the same range, although the volt obviously can use it's IC to recharge it's engine if it needs too.
posted by delmoi at 1:02 PM on April 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


It doesn't come stashed full of blow? We'll at least it still travels through time, right?
posted by Kale Slayer at 1:21 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought all the die casts for pressing out the DeLorean cars were sent to the bottom of the ocean (cf. "The Story Of The DeLorean Body Dies"). Are they building an entirely new manufacturing setup around this?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:39 PM on April 1, 2012


"The original DeLorean factory closed in 1982, just one year after it opened, because of a steep decline in sales owing to lengthy snow storms in the US."
Snow storms?
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:51 AM on April 1


Colombian snow, I gather.
posted by Skeptic at 2:00 PM on April 1, 2012


Whose dumb-ass business plan was this? And what dumb-ass investor(s) signed on?
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 2:19 PM on April 1, 2012


I have a DeLorean (albeit a gas powered one) and it is BY FAR the most amusing ride you'll ever have in a car. Valets will move Lamborghini's out of the way to park your car in front. People (including other drivers) will take your picture at every red light you stop at. It's a hell of a lot of fun, if you're into that sort of thing.

It also drives like a complete dog. The engine is underpowered, owing to numerous changes related to fuel economy when the car was released. No power steering, either. (the front wheels are actually smaller than the rear wheels in an attempt to compensate for this)

A DeLorean is about the *worst* possible chassis to convert as an electric car. One of the myriad reasons why the car failed in the first place is because stainless steel is really heavy.

A DeLorean has a curb weight of about 2700 pounds, nearly identical to a Prius, and slightly less than a Porsche 944. The slightly increased density of stainless steel vs. regular steel in the panels is negligible, and is more than offset by the fiberglass underbody construction.

I thought all the die casts for pressing out the DeLorean cars were sent to the bottom of the ocean

Due to the fact that the factory shut down while it was in full production, there are currently enough extant parts to build about 500 cars. (door panels are the limiting factor)

Snow storms?

Joking aside, it's true. The winter of the DeLorean's introduction was severe enough to delay shipments, disrupt business, and generally wreak havoc on an already beleaguered launch.

It doesn't come stashed full of blow?

Kinda sad that DeLorean's legacy has been so tarnished by this. It's not quite as bad as Fatty Arbuckle, but man, he sure did get a bum rap. (long story short: he was desperate to raise money to keep the company afloat, so an aquantance of his (who was cooperating with the FBI in order to beat his own drug charges) promised to lure DeLorean into financing a deal. When John balked, the agents posing as drug dealers threatened to cut off his daughter's head if he didn't cooperate. He was acquitted of all charges due to entrapment.)

This electric model seems impractical, but the DeLorean as a piece of automotive history is pure awesome, warts and all.
posted by ShutterBun at 2:43 PM on April 1, 2012 [82 favorites]


Can we stop derailing this thread and get back to the story that everyone is actually here for?

OK jonmc - on you go...
posted by panboi at 3:53 PM on April 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


15 hours to charge

That's on 110v. If you charge from 230v (which is common enough in american homes, for things like stoves and tumble dryers) then it takes 3 hours. You can add a 230v socket & circuit breaker fairly cheaply to most homes, as in <>building ~200 electric car charging stations in California. The tax subsidy for an electric car is currently $7500.
posted by anigbrowl at 5:21 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oops, screwed up posting the link about a network of electric car charging stations being built in CA as a result of a legal settlement.
posted by anigbrowl at 5:22 PM on April 1, 2012


I rode in a DeLorean once, back in the day, at about 100 mph. It was fun. The driver was a neighbor who was the cokeheaded scion of a 'family,' (you know what I mean). Years later, he had separated from his wife, and I was babysitting his kids when he offered me Thai Stick to tell him who his wife was out with. I didn't tell him. Later on, I found a porno tape of his wife and her boyfriend, but that's a whole other story.

Back to the Pulp Future?

For a lot of people living in the 'burbs, 100 miles wouldn't even account for a single day's use.

US average daily vehicle miles traveled peaked in 2006 at 23.8[pdf], and likely has not recovered post-recession. The electric vehicle is obviously not for everyone, nor will it universally cover even one household's entire annual needs, but it should be sufficient as a commute vehicle or second vehicle for many, many Americans.
posted by dhartung at 5:49 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Stainless steel only weighs about 2% more than regular steel. Seeing as you don't have to paint it and it never rusts, that seems a reasonable trade off.
posted by w0mbat at 7:15 PM on April 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


HuronBob: "Seriously, 15 hours to charge for a 100 mile range, That's just barely enough time between when you get home from work and have to leave again in the morning, and doesn't take into account commute time... seems problematic to me."

Afroblanco: "Sounds great, but the limited range is gonna kill this thing. For a lot of people living in the 'burbs, 100 miles wouldn't even account for a single day's use."


This comes up in every electric car discussion, and I'm kind of thinking it's wilful ignorance at this point.

The average round trip commute in the US is 32 miles. That's 16 miles in each direction. Here's an article from 2005.

When you don't use up your entire battery, it takes less time to recharge. And when you plug into the outlet your dryer uses instead of the one your blender uses, it takes even less time.

No electric car is going to take you from CA to NY on one charge. Good thing that's not how most people use their cars the vast majority of the time.
posted by danny the boy at 8:25 PM on April 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


Turns out there are a bunch of restaurants in the bay area called "Thai Stick"

The Thai Stick restaurants in the Bay Area are really quite good. The wine list is so-so, but I highly recommend their curried salmon.

I used to live in a neighborhood near someone who drove an experimental electric car. (It looked like a golf cart with motorcycle wheels.) The spooky thing about it was how very silent it was. Which makes me wonder, if electric cars ever become commonplace, whether their owners will download "drive tones" the way people now download ring tones. The idea would be to play distinct sounds to let pedestrians and other drivers know that the otherwise silent car was coming. You could have electric cars playing "Ride of the Valkyries", or bulldozer sounds, or Formula 1 car sounds or whatever. People could get pretty creative.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 8:49 PM on April 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Flash forward a year: "Hey, where's my money? NOT AGAIN! DELOREAN!!!"
posted by inturnaround at 8:54 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Back in highschool my friend and I signed up for @delorean.net email addresses. My first email account! Almost as cool as having a real car :)
posted by rebent at 5:53 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The best part of this is that it dispenses with an engine so unfailingly associated with mechanical despair that it's become the single most effective litmus test in determining which used Volvos will doom you to beater hell.
posted by sonascope at 6:26 PM on April 2, 2012


an engine so unfailingly associated with mechanical despair

God, I knew what you were talking about before I finished the sentence. There was Suck, there was Serious Suck, there was the Quad 4, and then there was the goddamn B28E and B28F, that camshaft eating bastard that could only come from PRV. Volvo had to develop a way to swap camshafts without pulling the engine from the car.

The correct price for a Volvo 264 is whatever the cost of towing it to a bomb range is, plus the cost to blow it up.

I didn't realize that the Delorean used the B28F. I'm so very sorry.
posted by eriko at 8:00 PM on April 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


that camshaft eating bastard that could only come from PRV

Yep, lots of owners have opted for custom made cams which also give a pretty healthy horsepower boost.
posted by ShutterBun at 1:24 AM on April 3, 2012


I was 15 minutes away from buying one back in the late 80s but the guy I was going to buy it from was really honest about the fact that while it was a great car, it tended to need a lot of maintenance and repairs due to the Renault drivetrain. And because I needed a trustworthy long haul commuter I had to pass. (I ended up with a black Prelude Si, which was a pretty great car too.)
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:41 AM on April 3, 2012


What? No one has posted the clip of the drag race between a DeLorean and a Toyota Sienna minivan?
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:16 AM on April 3, 2012


Eriko - One of my great regrets is that I always shied away from the genuinely lovely Volvo 164 (a model that existed in surprising abundance in the MD-DC-VA area until the mid-nineties) because I mistakenly believed it had that awful ninety degree mill churning behind that sweet, stodgy grille. Now, of course, they're coveted, rare, and expensive. Shucks.

Fortunately, it also scared me away from the grand, stately Peugeot 604s that were also not uncommon in my region, so my anxiety had the occasional reward, too.
posted by sonascope at 4:59 PM on April 3, 2012


Anyway, the Nissan Leaf and chevy volt have about the same range, although the volt obviously can use it's IC to recharge it's engine if it needs too.

delmoi, you have no idea what you're talking about. And you got two favorites, greaaaaat.

That is all.

- a Chevy Volt owner
posted by intermod at 9:44 PM on April 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


John Cohen: "The internal combustion engine runs on ordinary gasoline — it always has."

Something that always bothered me about Back to the Future - did the DeLorean run on leaded gasoline? I was a kid in the 80s, but I remember most gas stations carrying unleaded. I'm sure in the 60s only leaded was available. And Marty clearly ran out of gas after going back in time (he had to push the car behind the billboard for his yet-to-be-built suburban subdivision), but somehow refilled the tank to be able to drive to the clock tower.

What are the implications of putting leaded into a tank that requires unleaded?
posted by I am the Walrus at 7:26 AM on April 4, 2012


Leaded gas in an unleaded car doesn't hurt the engine; it just damages the cat and 02 sensor. A damaged 02 sensor can cause the car to run poorly but is easily replaced.
posted by Mitheral at 7:55 AM on April 4, 2012


You couldn't easily put leaded gas into a car that was build for unleaded because the leaded gas nozzle was bigger in diameter than the unleaded one. The leaded gas nozzle won't fit in the tank on an unleaded car.
posted by octothorpe at 8:23 AM on April 4, 2012


Doc Brown built a steam-powered ice cube maker (in a cave! with a box of scraps!) and a frickin' time machine. Pretty sure he could have whipped up some unleaded gas (or at least a funnel)
posted by ShutterBun at 9:00 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Quick note on the whole "100 miles isn't enough" thing: I was going to buy a Nissan LEAF, but ultimately passed, because of my commute.

Not because of the length, mind you; I live in Los Angeles, and I put 20,000 miles a year on my car, but my daily weekday commute -- kids to school, drive to work, pick up kids, drive back home -- is only about 50 miles. But then I factored in a doctor's visit, and since I live in SFV and the kids' doctor is in Pasadena, that put a crimp in things.

Of course, it wasn't an insurmountable crimp. The math worked out fine if I took them to the doctor before or after school; it only fell apart if I drove them to school, drove to work, picked them up from school, went to the doctor, drove them back to school, went back to work, picked them up from school, and drove them home.

That was still under 100 miles, actually. It was about 80. But I'm a bit of a lead foot, and I decided that if I drove the LEAF like I normally drove my previous car, I'd be more likely to have a range of 80 miles, and that was too close. I'm risk-averse.

Oddly, I ended up buying a Volvo, and because for some reason I find it a very calming car, I drive much, much slower than I used to. So in retrospect, I think I could have gotten away with the LEAF, even in the worst-case scenario I cooked up for myself.

So, yeah: 100 miles is probably enough for most folks with an average commute. It is just easy to scare yourself into thinking otherwise.
posted by davejay at 9:21 PM on April 10, 2012


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