We spoke to McLaren chief designer Rob Melville at Goodwood regarding the future of design in an EV world.
Although McLaren has yet to make it official, chances are the P1 successor, due by 2025, will be an all-electric hypercar. If the P1 was the world's first hybrid hypercar then it'd make sense for its direct Ultimate Series successor to go all-electric. Of course there will be major technological changes under its skin, but about on the surface? Will this unnamed and unconfirmed McLaren EV hypercar feature wild proportions and/or design?
We spoke to McLaren design chief Rob Melville during the Goodwood Festival of Speed regarding the styling direction he plans to take in the years ahead. Melville helped design the P1 and 650S prior to becoming chief designer. He's handled all new McLarens since the 675LT and is currently wrapping up work on the BP23 hyper GT. So will the (probable) all-electric P1 successor have a radical exterior design and proportions? "I think footprint wise, it'll be similar," he said. "It's about dynamics, so the overall width of the car involving its turning circle, tire thickness, and the fact it has to fit two people side by side without decreasing the size of the footwell… proportionally, architecturally, I think they're going to be quite similar.
"But the clever bit is that you have more opportunity to take air through the car." Another added benefit of an all-electric powertrain, aside from zero emissions, is greater interior space. "You get more internal space because the battery can be lower and behind the seats, but the thing about the width and wheelbase is that you don't want to go too wide or too tall because you'll increase the frontal area. For a 200 mph+ car the wheelbase range of 2,640 millimeters to 2,700 mm is optimum. We work at around 2,670 mm. It's good for everything." Given that 2025 is still seven years away, McLaren design will continue to evolve with 17 other new models and derivatives launched during the years in between.