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McLaren details Speedtail hybrid powertrain

Extra details emerge on ballistic McLaren Speedtail and its hybrid powertrain

1 May 2020

BRITISH supercar manufacturer McLaren has revealed additional details of its latest flagship model and Ultimate Series torch-bearer, the Speedtail which sports one of the highest top speeds of any production car.


When the Speedtail was first revealed in October 2018, McLaren told fans that the new successor to the legendary F1 that it would be powered by a 787kW petrol-electric hybrid powertrain that could propel the Speedtail from zero to 300km/h in 12.8 seconds, with a top speed of 403km/h.


Now the company has revealed more concrete details on its monster dual-power engine set-up, that incorporates Formula E-derived battery technology with a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8.


The output from the V8 also found in other McLaren models totals 557kW/800Nm, making it the second-most powerful iteration of the V8 behind the track-bred Senna, which manages to punch out 588kW and an equal amount of torque.


Additional power is provided by a lithium-ion battery and electric motor derived from Formula E technology, that is able to produce an output of 270kW.


That figure is made particularly impressive when considering the size of the battery pack – only 1.647kWh – giving it four times the density of the 2013 P1’s battery pack and a power to weight ratio of 5.2kW per kg, which the brand claims is the best of any high-voltage battery today.


Engineers integrated the inverter and DC/DC converter into the electric drive system, which allows the Speedtail to control and manage the considerable levels of power coming from the small battery.


The battery cells are thermally controlled by a dielectrical cooling system and permanently immersed in a lightweight, electrically insulative oil that wicks heat away from the cells, allowing the cells to remain at an optimum temperature and therefore operate to their maximum potential.


Combined output for the powertrain is 787kW with a fearsome 1150Nm, which helps contribute to its staggering performance figures.


The powertrain combines with a number of aerodynamic enhancements across the body to be able to handle the 403km/h V-max, with features such as the swooping rear end, retractable side mirrors, special wheels and aerodynamic actuators all contributing to its low drag coefficient.


Like the F1, only 106 examples of the Speedtail will be built, with “a very low number” destined for Australia.


Local pricing has not been revealed, however given the Speedtail asks £1.75 million ($A3.41m) plus on-roads in its native country, it certainly will not come cheap.


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