It’s one step at a time towards fully-electric cars for McLaren

With the likes of Lotus and Pininfarina already tangled in the electric supercar dance, McLaren will want to stay in the game and the unveiling of a new hybrid-dedicated platform does exactly that.

Now, McLaren has been playing with the idea of a hybrid, later-to-be all-electric supercar for some time, and from what we can tell, the company is slowly but surely taking the necessary steps towards a shift in paradigm. This new hybrid architecture means well see the hybrid McLaren launch in 2021.

A timeline of news

McLaren's Next Big Model Will Use This New Ligthweight, Hybrid Architecture
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  • 2019: Speaking to Motoring, Jamie Corstorphine, Global Marketing Director at McLaren, admitted that McLaren was looking into the possibility of offering a purely electric sports car, provided it can be better than the current crop of go-fast machines. What did that mean, reading between the lines? Basically, an electricity-powered Macca would have to keep weight on the light side, a quintessential trait for all McLarens. Charging time could also be an issue, especially for those two take their cars to the track on a daily basis. What’s more, Corstorphine also added that an all-electric McLaren would be born not out of necessity - i.e. to lower the range’s emissions - but out of pure passion for performance.
  • 2020, March: Car and Driver had a chat with McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt and found that that the company was already devoted to hybridizing “almost its entire lineup”: “As a low-volume manufacturer, our strategy is built around one platform, so we might need and EV platform for certain markets and a hybrid platform for other markets or sectors.”
  • 2020, April: Autocar reports that thefirst mainstream McLaren hybrid will debut later this year powered by a PHEV architecture. Reportedly, the powertrain is based on a twin-turbo V-6 ICE, but the sports car can also travel in pure electric mode for about 20 miles. It was also Mike Flewitt that stated for Autocar that “we [McLaren] have experience of hybrid systems with cars like the P1, P1 GTR, and Speedtail, and that recipe of offering a car that can be both truly economical and thrilling to drive remains our goal.”
  • 2020, August: McLaren reveals its new “flexible, lightweight vehicle architecture” that’s set to underpin the company’s future electrified supercars. The carbon-fiber platform can host new hybrid powertrains and was developed in-house at McLaren’s Composites Technology Center. Not a lot is known about the platform, but McLaren says it was created using “world-first processes and techniques to strip out excess mass.” By the look things, the launch of a hybrid sports car from McLaren - at least in prototype form - is doable by the end of the year, although we’re not holding our breath.

Final Words

McLaren's Next Big Model Will Use This New Ligthweight, Hybrid Architecture
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McLaren wants to get this electrification trend right and that’s the way to go.

Jumping head-first like Lotus and Pininfarina did take courage, but McLaren also cares about its reputation and customer trust.

So there shouldn’t be any surprise that the Brits will take the slowly but steady approach in developing hybrid and all-electric supercars.

On top of that, a lot of factors need to be pinned down to perfection: low weight is one of them, but the same stands for charging times and the right dosage of performance. Nevertheless, this is an interesting topic to watch, especially because Lamborghini and Ferrari will have to make their moves sooner rather than later.

Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
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Mike Flewitt, CEO of luxury supercar maker McLaren Automotive, today confirmed the introduction of the brand’s all-new, flexible, lightweight vehicle architecture which will underpin its next generation of electrified supercars.

The new architecture, designed specifically to accommodate new hybrid powertrains, has been entirely engineered, developed and produced in-house in the UK at McLaren’s £50m state-of-the-art McLaren Composites Technology Centre (MCTC) in the Sheffield region.

The new flexible vehicle architecture utilizes innovative, world-first processes and techniques to strip out excess mass, reduce overall vehicle weight, while also further improving safety attributes.

It will underpin the next generation of McLaren hybrid models as the supercar company enters its second decade of series vehicle production.

The first new McLaren hybrid supercar to be based on the all-new architecture will launch in 2021.

“The new ground-breaking vehicle architecture is every bit as revolutionary as the MonoCell chassis we introduced with the company’s first car, the 12C, when we first embarked on making production vehicles a decade ago.

“This new, ultra-lightweight carbon fibre chassis boasts greater structural integrity and higher levels of quality than ever before with our new MCTC facility quickly becoming recognized as a global center of excellence in composite materials science and manufacturing.

“Our advanced expertize in light weight composites processes and manufacturing combined with our experience in cutting-edge battery technology and high-performance hybrid propulsion systems means we are ideally placed to deliver to customers levels of electrified high-performance motoring that until now have simply been unattainable.”
Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive.

Mr Flewitt said the new architecture would enable McLaren to transition to 100 per cent electrified supercars.

“For us, light-weighting and electrification go hand-in-hand to achieve better performance as well as more efficient vehicles,” he said.

Ends

Notes to editors:
A selection of high resolution images accompanying this release is available to download from the McLaren Automotive media site – cars.mclaren.press

About McLaren Automotive:
McLaren Automotive is a creator of luxury, high-performance supercars.

Every vehicle is hand-assembled at the McLaren Production Centre (MPC) in Woking, Surrey, England.

Launched in 2010, the company is now the largest part of the McLaren Group.

The company’s product portfolio of GT, Supercar, Motorsport and Ultimate models are retailed through over 85 retailers in more than 32 markets around the world.

McLaren is a pioneer that continuously pushes the boundaries. In 1981, it introduced lightweight and strong carbon fibre chassis into Formula 1 with the McLaren MP4/1.

Then in 1993 it designed and built the McLaren F1 road car - the company has not built a car without a carbon fibre chassis since. As part of the Ultimate Series, McLaren was the first to deliver a hybrid hypercar, the McLaren P1™.

In 2018, the company launched its new £50m McLaren Composites Technology Centre in the Sheffield region in the North of England that will innovate and produce the next generation all-new lightweight carbon fibre architecture.

2019 saw McLaren launch the 600LT Spider as well as the new GT, the track-only Senna GTR and unveiled the 620R and the McLaren Elva.

To support the development, engineering and manufacture of its range of innovative supercars, McLaren Automotive partners with world leading companies to provide specialist expertise, technology and solutions. These include AkzoNobel, Ashurst, Dell Technologies, Pirelli, Richard Mille, and Tumi.

McLaren Group:
The McLaren Group is a global leader in luxury automotive and technology and comprises three businesses: Automotive, Racing and Applied.

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