Can you solve a time machine conundrum?

Published on July 03, 2024

Marty McFly and Doc Brown with Max Charge logo

To celebrate the launch of Los Alamos County’s two electric vehicle (EV) DC fast chargers, the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) is holding a ribbon cutting and a calculation contest called DPU’s DC Fast Charger Challenge.

If you’re interested in the contest, put on your pop culture thinking caps, grab some popcorn, and see if you can recall Back to the Future’s DeLorean time machine. If Doc Brown and Marty McFly were to charge this automotive marvel using the EV DC fast charger in the Los Alamos County Municipal Building parking lot, how long would it take to charge up to the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity required for time travel, assuming the time machine hits 88 miles per hour? The best answer will likely require a mix of cleverness and cognitive flexibility to manage assumptions that might be roadblocks in real life.

Contest entries are due by 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 11. DPU will assemble a panel of judges to review the entries and determine a winner. The winner will be announced at the ribbon cutting on Monday, July 15, from noon to 1 p.m., in front of the Municipal Building. Entrants do not need to be present to win, but they—and all EV enthusiasts—are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Event information and the official form for DPU’s DC Fast Charger Challenge can be found at