MCLAREN has confirmed that it is working on an all-electric supercar, but admits that it’s still a long way from entering production.
The Woking-based manufacturer has a test car that engineers are using to figure out how to deliver the same driver enjoyment internal combustion engines provide.
Speaking to automotive magazine Autocar, Dan Parry-Williams, engineering design director at McLaren, said: “We’ve got a pure EV [electric vehicle] mule and part of the reason for that is to ask how we can deliver driver engagement in a fully electric world.
“But there’s still quite a journey from here to there in terms of our products.”
However, he explained that the biggest limiting factor for high-performance models at the moment is that battery technology isn’t advanced enough.
He said: “Let’s say you want to drive on track for half an hour. If that was an EV, that car would have over 500 miles of [road] EV range, and it would be flat as a pancake at the end.
“The energy required to do really high performance on track is staggering. And then you have to recharge it.”
McLaren introduced the petrol-electric hybrid P1 in 2013. Powered by a 3.8-litre V8 and an electric motor, the hypercar had a combined output of 903bhp. And continued use of electrification, rather than fully electric, appears to be McLaren’s powertrain of choice – for the near future, at least.
Parry-Williams said: “If you exhaust the battery but then have to do one recharging lap, that strikes me as being okay. But if you haven’t got an on-board generator [and] you’ve got a full EV, you haven’t got the luxury of doing that.”