McLaren’s electric hypercar will focus on lightness

Rumors of an electric hypercar from McLaren have been tantalizing us for years, but the British performance manufacturer is content to take its time in the name of building a car that does right by the company’s lightweight formula. 

McLaren may be committed to building an EV to join its Ultimate Series, but the company is not going to rush it to market, statements made to the Australian site CarSales. Finding a solution that offers both battery longevity and light weight (which means a compact, high-capacity pack) is critical to the company’s plans going forward. 

Company marketing boss Jamie Corstorphine confirmed to the Australian outlet that McLaren is “working on” an EV prototype for its Ultimate Series, but that it’s not something that will be built just for the sake of entering the EV hypercar space. First and foremost, it needs to be a McLaren. 

In fact, McLaren’s standards for battery readiness are so firm that a pure EV Ultimate Series hypercar may be as much as five years away from fruition, if not more. That’s because McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt remains committed to the notion that there’s no sense entertaining a production EV hypercar if it can’t handle at least 30 minutes of on-track duty on a single charge while also being “usable.” 

“As it stands at the moment, we don’t think the battery technology will be ready until 2025 to give us what we want in terms of performance,” Flewitt told Automotive News in 2018. “It shouldn’t be that we offer a powertrain solution that compromises. It won’t just be lower emissions, it’ll be a better sports car.”

McLaren faces competition in the race to produce no-compromise EV performance vehicles. Fellow British maker Lotus has thrown its hat into the ring with the announcement of the 1,974-horsepower Evija. Meanwhile, Porsche is pushing the upper end of the mainstream performance envelope with the new Taycan, which may not be hypercar material, but it’s certainly no slouch when it comes to on-track performance

An electric McLaren hypercar may be a few years off, but, for the company remains committed to its goal of selling at least 50 percent of its cars as hybrids by 2022.

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