Despite impressive results from the McLaren P1’s hybrid electric/V8 powertrain, the British automotive firm is in no rush to introduce the technology further down its range.
Currently, all vehicles in McLaren’s range utilise a version of its 3.8 litre twin-turbo V8. For the time being that’s how it will remain.
With the McLaren range divided into three groups, Sport Series, Super Series, and Ultimate Series, only the Ultimate cars will carry hybrid assist.
However at the Australian launch of the high-performance 675LT, McLaren’s Asia Pacific Regional Director, David McIntyre, poured water on the idea that other McLaren vehicles might utilise a version of the P1’s hybrid system.
According to McIntyre, there were two main issues with hybrid technology that made it unviable for its "regular" supercar range: cost and complexity.
Instead, McLaren’s engineering-focused development will see future cars rely on aerodynamic advancements and the use of lightweight materials as a performance-adder, rather than hybrid powertrains.
“Until that kind of [hybrid] technology becomes more cost efficient and more cost effective, I think we’ll generate our performance gains through aerodynamics and lightweight, rather than hybridisation.” Said Mr Mcintyre.
“Of course, we’re always looking at new technologies. The IPAS [Instant Power Assist System] system we have on the P1 is fantastic, but it’s very expensive, it’s very complicated technology to put on our full range of cars.”
So far, other supercar manufacturers have kept their performance hybrid systems exclusively for top-end vehicles too. Both the Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari LaFerrari feature performance hybrid systems that are yet to spread to more high-volume models.
A reduction in weight for the requisite electrical systems could bring a turnaround in McLaren’s plans however:
"The current battery systems today that are prevalent in the market are quite heavy and of course, we make lightweight cars, that’s what we’re all about." Mr McIntyre went on to say.
"Until there is a electric hybrid solution which is cost effective, lightweight, and allows us to build exactly the kind of cars we’d like to build, it doesn’t make sense for us or our customers."
The just released 675LT uses carbon fibre body panels in place of aluminium, as well as lightweight interior, exhaust, and chassis components to bring weight down by 100kg over the 650S it is based upon.