Driven: Electrogenic’s Drop-In EV Kit Gives the DeLorean the Verve It Always Deserved

Electrogenic

Almost 40 years after Doc Brown sent a DeLorean back to the future, owners of the iconic car can convert theirs to run on electricity with a drop-in conversion kit from Electrogenic.

Instead of the wheezy 2.9-liter Renault V-6, a 160-kW (215 hp) electric motor sits in the engine bay, beneath a battery pack. More cells are positioned up front, where the fuel tank used to be, for a total capacity of 43 kWh. (1.21 gigawatts was deemed a little excessive.) As measured after the transmission, the motor sends a monstrous 2360 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels via a single-ratio gearbox and transaxle. Calculated at the motor itself, that number is 228 lb-ft, still ample for a vintage sports car.

Electrogenic DeLorean batteries 2
Electrogenic

Where the original would limp to 60 mph in ten seconds (and take the full length of the Twin Pines Mall parking lot to reach 88 mph), Electrogenic’s DeLorean will hit the benchmark in five seconds flat.

The conversion does add some weight, but only 40 kg (88 pounds), essentially the equivalent of a full tank of gas. Even Marty McFly couldn’t describe that as “heavy.” The kit is capable of rapid charging via a CCS connection, a “refueling” strategy that is a lot easier than stealing plutonium or predicting a lightning strike. Range is 150 miles, if you drive conservatively, as I did on my first lap of Bicester Heritage in Electrogenic’s own converted Delorean.

Electrogenic DeLorean charger 2
Electrogenic

You need to be in Eco mode to maximize range, and it’s with the central rotary switch set in that position that I set off for my first tentative lap of the 1-km circuit in Lauton, UK. The car feels pretty keen even with the wick turned down. When I squeeze the accelerator, it surges forward with enthusiasm. To conserve battery power, it coasts when I back off the throttle. Regenerative braking only kicks in when I depress the left pedal.

The most aggressive mode of brake regeneration enables you to drive nearly with one pedal. In this mode it’s quite possible to get around the Bicester circuit using the brakes only for the right-hander at the end of the straight, such is the powerful retardation provoked by just lifting your foot off the accelerator.

Electrogenic DeLorean action rear
Electrogenic

Sport mode delivers all the power and none of the regen. As I exit the right-hander onto the straight, the violent torque delivery lights a one-tire fire at the rear and requires a good armful of correction. I’m actually pushed back into the driver’s seat by the forward thrust. Marty would have had no trouble outrunning a VW bus-load of Libyans if he’d been driving this.

As is its standard practice, Electrogenic has swapped only the driveline. I’m pleasantly surprised at the way the DeLorean rides and drives. Underneath each DeLorean is the chassis of a Lotus, of course, and now, with the extra performance, this one seems to shine. The unassisted steering is a little heavy at low speeds, but once rolling, there’s a directness to it and plenty of feedback. Yes, there’s body roll, dive, and squat, but it’s all manageable. Generally there’s quite a nice flow to the experience.

Only once, when I attempt to reach time-travel speed and run out of runway, do I have a moment of concern. As the Doc warned: “If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour… you’re gonna see some serious sh*t.” Fortunately, there’s just enough in the brakes to get me through the corner, although they do smell somewhat warm afterwards.

Knowing that the car has a future with its owner, I do a cool-down lap and pay attention to the subtle interior modifications. The rev counter is repurposed to show power and regeneration, while there’s a small LCD screen added to display drive mode and state of charge. Where the gear selector once sat are two rotary dial—one to select drive, neutral, or reverse, and the other to choose the performance mode. There’s an upgraded head unit to play the compulsory Huey Lewis and the News soundtrack, air conditioning, and even a glowing Flux Capacitor seated between the seats as a finishing touch.

Those won’t be part of the kit that Electrogenic supplies to its network of installation partners, which includes four in the U.S., but no doubt you could always ask. Depending on exactly how you spec your car, the conversion cost is estimated to be between £65,000 and £85,000 ($83,000–$109,000) plus taxes.

That’s a lot to future-proof a DeLorean, but Electrogenic’s kit does much more than that. It gives the DMC-12 the performance to match its appearance, doing away with a lackluster powertrain that nobody in their right mind would miss.

Of all the EV-swapped classics I’ve encountered, I think the DeLorean will be the least divisive. It’s certainly the most entertaining and the best balanced. To paraphrase Marty once more—if you guys aren’t ready for that, your kids are gonna love it.

Electrogenic-electric-DeLorean-Nik-Berg
Electrogenic

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Comments

    It’s exciting to see electrification breathe new life into a classic and if the DeLorean isn’t the most obvious choice I don’t know what is. This might send me over the edge to get a DeLorean and wait for the price of the conversion to drop to more reasonable levels.

    No thanks. I would stick wit the weak stock motor or do something a bit more modern like an LS Swap. $83k-$109k is too much for so little.

    There’s really no way to cost justify an EV conversion (on any car), but the psychic rewards are fantastic. I’ve driven an EV converted Porsche 911and I’m waiting for my EV Porsche 356 Speedster replica to be finished so I can drive it. Just think how surprised a Tesla driver will be when the light changes and they’re looking at my taillights. 😂

    We’re going to see a lot more of these conversions. The filthy engine and transmissions are so inferior in every regard. Remember Turbo Lag? It’s been replaced with ICE Lag. Instant torque rules.

    This is interesting and a good match given the lineage of this car. As others have said, the prices of these conversions need to come down. I applaud and respect the early adopters for their sacrifice at the altar of early technological evolution but having bought a VHS cassette recorder two years before they went out of production, I consider myself slow to convert. So I suspect that my interest will increase when the price point matches that of a junkyard ICE swap and the range is more practical, say 400 miles or more.

    Perfect – for the man who likes ugly he could have this and the new Cybertruck in the same garage…

    Of all the cars in the collector world, this is the perfect candidate for conversion. Since Doc Brown’s version isn’t possible yet, this will have to do.

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