Cruising in My 'Lorean: Different Time Travel Speeds

Let's check out out the Wolf Gnards mail bag...

Little Brian A. asks:
Didn't the Delorean in Back to the Future only have to go 88mph to travel through time? How fast did other spaceships/cars/what-have-yous have to travel to create the black holes and what nots?

It's fortunate that I happened to major in Back to the Future with a Minor in Huey Lewis.


It's often mistaken that speed is the crucial element of time travel, and that 88 mph is a critical speed for creating a worm hole through time in the movie Back to the Future. However, 88 mph is only the speed in which a DeLorean DMC-12 needs to travel through time.

Two things are needed to warp time, neither is the Power of Love. Matter and energy are needed to bend time. We know the energy involved is 1.21 gigawatts. The matter in this instance is simply the DeLorean and it's stainless steel design. Because of the speed involved and since mass is the actual key component to time travel, it can be conferred that energy and the proper momentum are needed for time travel. Momentum being equal to mass times velocity. A DeLorean that weighs 2,712 lb (1,230 kg) needs a momentum of 48387.6 SI (meter-kilogram-second system) . Using this momentum and E=mc2 as a template, we can figure out time travel speeds and energy for any mode of transportation.

Train (Locomotive and one Carriage)


Weight: 240 tons
Time Travel Variables: 5 mph and 27122.80 gigawatts
Interestingly the bigger the object the less speed it needs because the larger mass makes it easier to bend time, however, more energy is required to bridge that object through the space/time continuum. Dr. Brown might need a little more than steam power to equal several thousand atomic bombs worth of energy.


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Weight: 5500 lbs.
Time Travel Variables: 43 mph and 4.67 gigawatts
The only thing better than a DeLorean time machine is a DeLorean van time machine.


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Weight: 250 lbs.
Time Travel Variables: 955mph, .01 gigawatts
Looks like all you need is a rocket bike and AA batteries for power. Smaller objects need less energy, but higher speeds to leap through time.

Speed Boat

Speed Boat

Weight: 1800 lbs.
Time Travel Variables: 133 mph, .53 gigawatts
A boat might just be the best mode of Time Travel. Plus you don't have to worry about running into a wall. A shark, maybe.

Monster Truck

Monster Time Machine

Weight: 10000 lbs.
Time Travel Variables: 24 mph, 16.48 gigawatts
Correction, the only thing better than a DeLorean van is a DeLorean monster truck. The hillbillies have time travel!

American Style Aluminum Phone Booth

Bill & Ted: Phone Booth

Weight: 150 lbs.
Time Travel Variables: 1591 mph, .0036 gigawatts
Bill & Ted may need rocket fuel to navigate through the Circuits of History.

British Police Box (Steel and Concrete)

Police Box

Weight: 2000 lbs.
Time Travel Variables: 119 mph, .66 gigawatts

Hot Tub (Filled with Water)

Hot Tub Time Machine

Weight: 3700 lbs.
Time Travel Variables: 65 mph, 2.25 gigawatts
Where's Michael J. Fox? He enjoys a good pool party still.

Starship Enterprise


Weight: 77000 metric tons
Time Travel Variables: 0 mph, 4740847151.52 gigawatts
Who needs to sling shot around the sun if you have a flux capacitor? Since the Enterprise is so huge, it barely needs to move to travel through time, impulse power is more than enough punch. However, that amount of energy pushes even the limits of dilithium crystals. Or maybe not, the output of the Enterprise's warp core changes episode from episode. All I know is that a dilithium crystal does something to a thingie and Scotty is always bitching about needing more of them.