McLaren's next hypercar could be electric


As part of its Track22 six-year business plan, McLaren says it is investigating making a battery electric vehicle its next hypercar, or in McLaren speak, Ultimate Series car.

Moving forward, the McLaren lineup will include the lowest priced Sports Series cars like the 570S and 570GT (as well as the 540C in other markets), Super Series cars like the 650S and 675LT, and one or more Ultimate Series car(s) as successors to the plug-in hybrid P1.

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"For us, the vehicle, when it comes to pure EV, has to be as exciting to drive as a P1 or a 675LT. So what we need to work on is how we deliver an EV that is that exciting, that engaging, that compelling," said Mike Flewitt, chief executive officer of McLaren Automotive during this week's 2016 Geneva Motor Show. "We need to work on the things that make it exciting. We get a lot of excitement today from noise, from the physical sensation, the vibration, and so on that comes from our conventional powertrain. How do we replace it so it is equally as fun?"

McLaren is building a concept car to study this issue. Timing for the reveal of that concept is likely years away. McLaren only says it will come by the end of the Track22 plan, though it could appear in three-to-four years. If the electric car can't deliver on that promise, and if it can't be a technological leap over the P1, McLaren would probably build another plug-in hybrid like the P1, though it would certainly be more powerful.

McLaren also says at least half of its cars will be hybrids by the end of the Track22 plan. The company is working on a next-generation hybrid system that probably won't have much to do with the version in the recently departed P1.

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The problem is that system is too expensive. When asked if the P1 system could be used, McLaren product planning and global marketing chief Jamie Corstorphine said, "Technically, we could do it, but commercially it's not viable. We have to push to develop those systems so that they not only deliver a positive power-to-weight relationship, but so that they come in at a price point that we can also afford to put them in the cars in the Sports and Super series."

One way or another, McLaren's future appears to be electrified.

For more from the Geneva Motor Show, head to our dedicated hub.

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