McLaren is testing an EV – but it doesn’t think it’s good enough
5 May 2018 Sam Burnett motor1
McLaren Production Center opening with prime minister David Cameron -
Engineers say the numbers don't stack up for an electric McLaren just yet.
McLaren is testing an all-electric prototype, the firm’s sale and marketing
boss has admitted at the Beijing motor show – but the numbers don’t stack
‘We’re running a project development prototype electric vehicle,’ explained
Jolyon Nash. ‘We need to understand how an EV can possibly deliver a McLaren
driving experience that’s visceral and true to its DNA.’
The company has set a goal of 2022 for 50 percent of its vehicles produced
to be hybridised in some form or other – Volvo announced plans in China to
meet that same target by 2025. But McLaren’s criteria for an electric
vehicle are a lot more demanding.
‘With battery technology as it is today it can’t happen – there’s a binary
choice between battery power that gives you torque and top speed but very
limited range versus great range and limited performance.
‘A high percentage of our customers take their cars on track and they want
at least 35 minutes around a track before they stop and have to put some
fuel in. If we had an EV it would have to perform at that level. Only when
the technology can provide a true McLaren driving experience will we build
Nash said that McLaren engineers had done calculations on what would be
needed to get an electric vehicle to the performance level as its latest
car: ‘If the Senna was an EV, to deliver the same performance it would weigh
2,000kg. That’s not a McLaren.’
He also made it clear that the firm isn’t going to do an SUV – not while
it’s making enough money in thoroughbred sports cars to keep shareholders
happy at any rate. ‘I think we’re pretty clear on at McLaren. Part of our
success is that we’re consistent in what a McLaren is, and every car must be
true to that DNA.
‘A McLaren is fundamentally a lightweight, mid-engined supercar/sportscar.
Every car should live up to that and it should be engaging to drive. That’s
the commitment we have with our customers.’
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