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McLaren fleet to be 50 per cent hybrid before 2025

Switched on: McLaren's hybrid P1 is expected to be joined by more petrol-electric models as the technology gets more affordable, lighter and practical.

P1 hybrid technology to filter down to half of McLaren vehicles inside 10 years

McLaren logo1 Jul 2015

By DANIEL GARDNER in ENGLAND

McLAREN has confirmed that its ultra-hybrid technology will filter down from the P1 hypercar to more affordable models, with half of the iconic British marque's line-up expected to be powered by hybrid powertrains before 2025.

When it was unveiled in 2012, the McLaren P1 pioneered hybrid power for the company, but its expensive performance-focused petrol-electric hardware ruled it out for more affordable lines such as the now revealed Super Series and more recent Sports Series models.

The company says it expects the systems to be suitable to power 50 per cent of the range within a decade, thanks to advancements in battery and motor technology.

Speaking at McLaren's 2014 financial review in Woking, England, McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt told GoAuto the McLaren weight reduction philosophy and developments in EV tech would allow more models to adopt the technology.

“In 10 years, I expect half of our cars to be hybrid,” he said “I actually think it will be faster. The trick with hybrid technology is that the battery is heavy and expensive and for a sportscar, the last thing you want is weight.

“We need that technology to develop a little further in terms of battery power density. We also need to get some weight out of the vehicle so we can compensate a little bit.” While many manufacturers have focused on hybrid technology for its fuel saving and environmental benefits, Mr Flewitt said the company had embraced hybrids for its performance potential first and foremost.

“Okay, it lets us pass emissions tests – that’s the boring bit done – but what it lets us do with drivability is just phenomenal,” he said. “It’s not the fact you can drive P1 in electric mode that impresses me, it’s the combined 903 horsepower, which you don't get in smaller capacity turbocharged engines.

“Our strategy is to use technology to produce the best driving cars, it’s as simple as that. Sportscars have to look good – nobody buys an ugly sportscar – but we want people to appreciate that it’s a phenomenal drive.” Mr Flewitt did not say when the first sub-P1McLaren hybrid would emerge, but he did confirm “it won’t be our next car”.

Before 2022, the company is expected to turn out six new models, with Spider and LT versions of the Sports Series likely to be next on the scene. The next hybrid could arrive soon after.

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