You may have noticed that Back to the Future references have come into vogue lately.

That's because this week marks the 30th anniversary of the time-travel film franchise.

Today--October 21, 2015--is also the date that Marty McFly and Doc Brown landed in Hill Valley, California, in Back to the Future II (1989).

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And with an automotive star as iconic as the flux-capacitor-equipped DeLorean DMC-12, you can bet there's plenty of car-related Back to the Future geekiness afoot.

Leading the charge is none other than Toyota, which has produced a short Back to the Future-themed film to promote its Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell car.

It stars none other than Michael J. Fox and Christoper Lloyd, who discuss what future predictions have--and have--not come to pass over the past three decades.

2016 Toyota Mirai U.S. arrival

2016 Toyota Mirai U.S. arrival

The full "story" will be released today, says Toyota, coinciding with the delivery of the very first Mirai fuel-cell cars in California.

Toyota has taken orders for the car since July from interested applicants in a few specific regions of California. It claims to have gotten 1,900 applications for the 1,000 available 2016-model-year build slots.

The Mirai will be distributed through just eight dealers for now, but more may be added as hydrogen fueling infrastructure expands.

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Meanwhile, Queen's University Belfast has taken a different tack in updating a Back to the Future automotive icon: Today it is unveiling an all-electric DeLorean conversion.

Students and staff at the university--located in the same Northern Irish city as the former DeLorean factory--have restored the car and converted it to electric power over the past 18 months.

The modified DMC-12 uses an original DeLorean drivetrain--including the Renault-derived transmission--but with an electric motor in place of the original 2.8-liter V-6.

DeLorean DMC-12

DeLorean DMC-12

While the original engine was rated at just 130 horsepower, the electric motor produces 270 hp. That allows for a top speed of 120 mph.

The battery pack, composed of 60 individual modules, is split between the front and rear luggage compartments.

The university thought an electric-car project would be useful because it would familiarize students with green technology.

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The DeLorean was chosen for both its movie fame and its connection to Belfast.

(For more information, find "QUB Electric DeLorean" on Facebook and @QUBEeLorean on Twitter.)

Because if you're going to build an electric car, why not do it with style--and get some promotion out of a famous movie to boot?


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