McLaren’s Next Big Model Will Use This New Ligthweight, Hybrid Architecture
It’s one step at a time towards fully-electric cars for McLarenby Tudor Rus, on
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
- 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.
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.