Let the countdown begin.
While the McLaren 12C and its immediate successor, the 650S, firmly put the UK automaker back on the map in the world of high-performance supercars, it was the McLaren P1 hypercar that cemented the company's status as an industry leader in not just performance but also advanced technologies. The P1 is, of course, a plug-in hybrid hypercar built from 2013 to 2015. While PHEVs are nothing unusual today, the tech was quite something seven years ago. A P1 successor is very much happening, a fact McLaren revealed in 2018 when it announced its Track25 plan.
And now McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt has revealed to Autocar that still unnamed successor will debut in 2024, roughly a year before we originally thought. "We haven't announced the powertrain," Flewitt said. "Obviously, looking forward, it will either be hybridized or an EV."
Previously, McLaren did not have immediate EV plans because excess battery weight remained an issue. Instead, waiting for solid-state battery tech to arrive makes more sense. Will it be ready by 2024? Too soon to know. However, Flewitt also clarified that a future street-legal track car, like the new McLaren 765LT, won't be going electric anytime soon given the current technology.
"I like EVs," he said. "I've driven them a lot lately and for regular use. They're responsive, refined and have incredible performance. But the charging times are really restrictive. Take the 765LT as an example. We know a lot of customers are going to take that to the track. If it were an EV, you would be looking at maybe 30 minutes of running time and then plugging it in until the next day. That's not a persuasive position."
Given these restrictions, there's a good chance the P1 Ultimate Series successor will utilize a split hybrid system featuring an electronically powered front axle. The rear axle's power will come from a combustion engine, possibly a hybridized version of the V6 that'll be found in the next Sports Series, i.e. the 570S successor. While hybrid or PHEV vehicles are not exactly lightweight, they still weigh less than what current EV battery tech allows.
Eventually though, an all-electric McLaren will happen, partially because more global governments are expected to push for combustion-engined vehicle bans within the next decade and a half. That's still plenty of time for solid-state battery development to evolve as it must for McLaren's needs.