Was it the right decision not to do it?
A little over five years ago, the McLaren P1 hypercar made its official debut. Yes, it’s been a half a decade since the now icon was introduced to the world, and its styling, inside and out, still looks fantastic today. One of the P1’s most interesting technology features at the time was its hybrid powertrain, which isn’t so unusual today. Back in 2012, it was revolutionary. But according to Autocar, McLaren once considered building a non-hybrid version of the P1. Removing the hybrid system would have reportedly reduced weight by around 300 pounds.
So why didn’t it ultimately happen? Because the whole goal of the P1 program was to highlight and demonstrate the capabilities of a combined internal combustion-hybrid powertrain. In short, a non-hybrid P1 would have gone against the ethos of the project. It was a brave and daring decision on McLaren’s part to fight the urge to shave weight and further increase output from the twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8. Fortunately, the extra juice provided by the hybrid system made up for the extra poundage. To remind you just how forward thinking McLaren was (and still is) nearly a decade ago, it decided to develop entirely in-house the P1’s electric motor.
Early on engineers realized suppliers were not able to provide what McLaren required for the P1, so they assigned themselves the task. The final result was a brilliant powertrain that produced a total of 903 hp and 723 lb-ft of torque. Would have a non-hybrid P1 been interesting? Totally, but it would not have been groundbreaking. McLaren made the right call on this one.