The Take: Hollywood’s Cars of the Future

Mass market electric vehicles have finally brought electric propulsion to the people. But despite their advanced features, the EVs have familiar styling. That’s not always how we – read: Hollywood – imagined the “Car of the Future.” Here are some of the best examples of how Hollywood has portrayed the future of vehicles.

Back to the Future (1985)
Year in Movie: 1985/1955
Car: DeLorean DMC-12
Fuel: Plutonium/biofuels
You know the drill: once the plutonium-powered DeLorean hits 88 miles, it leaves flames on the road and vanishes into the past. But the fuel source needed to provide 1.21 Gigawatts of power to the “Flux Capacitor” is a bit problematic — the gang that Doc steals the plutonium from comes for him. So, Doc makes some tweaks to the design and, at the end of the film, the resulting vehicle not only runs on biofuels, it also flies.

Back to the Future movie photo of future travel

Demolition Man (1993)
Year in Movie: 2032
Car: General Motors Ultralite
Fuel: Electric?
In this dystopic vision of California in the 2030s, the vehicle is self-driving, has a pleasing whir that suggests battery power and has “securefoam” to prevent injuries the event of an accident. The features may have been make-believe, but the car was the very real GM Ultralite, a concept car with a gasoline engine that was capable of getting 100 miles per gallon. As with most futurecars, including the DeLorean, the Ultralite had gullwing doors that make a pleasing sound — like opening a slightly fizzed soda bottle — when opened.

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