Legendary British sports car manufacturer, McLaren, is working on unveiling its first mainstream hybrid later this year, according to a report by Autocar. In the marque’s hierarchy, the Sports Series, sits at the bottom of its three-tier series offering. The new electrified car will be joining that stable along with models such as the 540C, 570S and 600LT.
The new car will be the brand’s first mainstream hybrid offering and since it sits at the bottom of the three-tier model range, the new car is slated to be much easier on the wallet as compared to other electrified McLaren’s such as the P1 and the new Speedtail.
With electric power on the table, it sadly ‘eliminates’ the need to have a stonking great V8 as a source of propulsion. The plug-in hybrid system will be paired up to a twin-turbocharged V6 engine, but specifics are scarce at the moment.
“We have experience of hybrid systems with cars like the P1, P1 GTR and Speedtail, and that recipe of offering a car that can be both truly economical and thrilling to drive remains our goal,” said CEO Mike Flewitt. “McLaren is all about building the best driver’s cars, and we see opportunities with hybrid [powertrains], in terms of the instant torque and filling the gaps in the powerband.”
The hybrid motor system is said to provide the British sports car with an all-electric range of about 32km. While the electrification initiative comes at a weight disadvantage, the brand is sure to engineer a way to claw back a chunk of that disadvantage. “At McLaren, we’re fortunate that we’re not so constrained by building to a price. Our customers want the best, so that’s what we obsess over” said McLaren COO Jens Ludmann.
But why, you might be asking, is a company like McLaren getting into the mainstream hybridisation game? For one, legislation. The British government is slated to ban the sale of all new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars from 2035, which was brought forward by five years from the 2040 plan, in order to achieve zero-emission mobility, said the BBC recently.
On that subject, Mike Flewitt said: “Hybridisation could play a key role in the journey [to net zero emissions], and I believe that a longer transition period of running hybrids and full EVs alongside each other could be part of the answer. We’ve invested in this technology with the goal of paying back that investment over a number of years.
“We believe it will meet customer requirements sooner than full EV. To set a deadline for its end before we have launched it is detrimental to the perception of the steps forward we’ve made, and it both stalls the demand and potentially causes people to hold on to or buy older, more polluting cars.”
However, Flewitt also highlighted an issue to electrifying cars. “Building the car to the deadline is less of a problem,” he said. “What I’d like clarity on is how we as a country will be ready to support those vehicles in terms of infrastructure, supply chain and so on.”