McLaren's newest vehicle platform is designed to take it toward an entirely electrified future
- McLaren just introduced an all-new platform that's meant for its upcoming generation of hybrid cars.
- The first McLaren hybrid supercar to use that platform will launch in 2021.
- McLaren will stop building traditional engines that rely on gasoline by 2030, according to the Financial Times.
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Boutique British automaker McLaren has only ever made two hybrid models. The first was the P1 in 2013. Only 375 were made. The second was the Speedtail in 2018. Only 106 were built. Since then, it's been gasoline all the way. But that's about to change.
On Tuesday, McLaren introduced an all-new platform intended to underpin its upcoming generation of electrified supercars. Designed specifically for future hybrid powertrains, the new carbon-fiber platform will ensure the cars are lightweight and safe. McLaren said the first hybrid supercar built on the platform will launch next year.
The new architecture is a sight that should be familiar to those who know how the automaker builds its current cars, since modern McLarens use versions of the company's carbon-fiber monocoque chassis design. "Monocoque" is French for "single shell," acting as a central structure in cars for heightened strength and rigidity.
The move toward hybridisation is part of McLaren's plan to stop production of gasoline engines by the decade's end, according to a recent Financial Times story about the company's long-term plan to shift to EVs. The outlet's Peter Campbell reported that while McLaren will busy itself with building hybrid supercars over the course of the next 10 years, the ultimate goal is to "cease any traditional engine development by 2030."
McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt told the Financial Times: "We will be developing engines for the next 10 years, selling for the next 15 years, but we expect a lot of the world to be aligning around the 2035 date [for a full shift to electric cars]."
The new hybrid platform will allow drivers to charge their cars via plugs and drive more than 28 kilometres on battery-only power, the Financial Times noted. We won't see an all-electric McLaren until the back half of the decade, however, due to weight, performance, and range constraints, Flewitt said.
In 2018, McLaren announced its $1.6 billion "Track25" business plan that included launching 18 new models and having its entire lineup be hybrid by 2025.
It's unclear if that plan has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. CNBC reported in May that McLaren planned to lay off about a quarter of its workforce in restructuring efforts related to the virus. In the story, McLaren said it had to suspend retail and manufacturing, as well as cancel its motorsports events — all of which "severely" impacted the company.
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