An all-electric McLaren supercar is still under consideration as the Woking brand continues to evaluate all-electric powertrains and their implementation in future models.
McLaren has long hinted that its P1 replacement, due internationally in 2023, could swap petrol for electric power. Additionally, the company’s involvement in Formula E – where it supplies the drivetrain technology – emphasises its expertise in the area.
Last year, McLaren launched its ‘Track22’ strategy, where it aims for half of its range to be hybrid by 2022. The brand also stated that the strategy would prepare it for an all-electric future.
More recently, Mark Vinnels, the company’s executive director for programme development, has emphasised how electric could benefit a supercar, saying “in engineering terms, electric cars are beautiful”.
However, Vinnels also explained that range issues and the less viscerally engaging character of electric powertrains are still drawbacks.
“Suppliers in the battery industry are working flat out to improve the energy density of their batteries, while what we want are batteries with better power density,” he said. “One promotes range, the other performance, and the more power density you have, the bigger the issues with cooling the battery pack.”
The new generation of batteries that McLaren Applied Technologies is supplying to Formula E, however, offers about double the range which will negate the need for a car change mid-race.
McLaren is not alone among supercar manufacturers in acknowledging the need for hybridisation and electrification. Ferrari’s next generation of V12 supercars will be hybrid-assisted and Porsche has already announced its 680hp Panamera S E-hybrid, the most powerful such car to go into mainstream production.
Porsche’s all-electric Mission E coupé, with over 608hp, is due to go into production by the end of the decade as well.