Not only will electricity play a leading role in McLaren’s next hypercar – it will play the only role.
Just don’t expect it to arrive any time soon.
Plans for a P1 successor are already underway as part of McLaren’s billion-dollar business plan, with company execs confirming engineers are working on an allelectric powertrain for the brand’s next Ultimate Series model.
But while development has begun, McLaren is waiting on the next leap forward in battery technology to ensure the P1 replacement makes a “huge performance change and is a technology showcase”.
Chief exterior designer Robert Melville told Wheels full EV testing mules would hit the road soon.
“When we do our next ultimate car it has to be a big technology step, such as full EV, or it has to make enough of a performance leap to make it worthwhile,” Melville said.
“By 2022 half of our range will be hybrid, and during that time we’ll also be running around with fully EV mule cars. We haven’t got a car working yet, but it won’t be long.
“But on that front we’ll wait until we get the energy density in the batteries right, that’s when we’ll do our next ultimate vehicle.
“For us to make an ultimate car it has to make a clear statement, either about performance or technology, so that could be in 10 years, or possibly five.”
Melville admitted one stumbling block for an electric McLaren P1 is how it will sound, and added an EV P1 could look drastically different due to its battery drivetrain allowing for greater design flexibility.
“Sound is so important, so how do we handle that as we go forward?” he asked. “Turbos are catching up and hybrids aren’t much of a problem, but a full EV model? We don’t know yet. I don’t think any of us have the answer.”