McLaren is working on potential electric hypercar ideas, reports suggest, with the company looking at the possibility of making the P1’s 2023 successor completely petrol-free.
The Woking-based firm has already launched a strategy it calls Track 22, under which it aims to make half of its range hybrid by 2022 and could prepare for an all-electric flagship. McLaren already supplies the drivetrains for Formula E racing, so continues to build a vast library of knowledge and technical understanding of how to get the best out of batteries.
To make an electric hypercar happen, McLaren needs to overcome the challenges involved in increasing battery power density, which is a different idea to what most manufacturers are working on. Mainstream car builders are trying to increase energy density, squeezing more driving range into the same space and weight, but McLaren’s desire is to squeeze more power out of it.
Autocar quotes Mark Vinnels, McLaren’s executive director for programme development, as saying:
“Suppliers in the battery industry are working flat out to improve the energy density of their batteries, while what we want are batteries with better power density.
“One promotes range, the other performance, and the more power density you have, the bigger the issues with cooling the battery pack.”
McLaren is about to start supplying Formula E with a new, higher-performance battery pack that will negate the frustrating and off-putting need for a change of car mid-race. It should offer about double the range of the old unit. It’s easy to imagine that by 2023, things might really be looking good for electric power. Whether we like it or not…