The First McLaren EV May Not Be An SUV After All

Electric Vehicles / 7 Comments

But whatever the brand's first electric car is, it will cost at least $200,000 and offer much-improved quality.

McLaren CEO Michael Leiters has said that the company is not developing an all-electric supercar yet. Still, it is thinking of something with more "utility," although the upcoming EV would not necessarily be a crossover or SUV.

The news comes via Evo magazine, which interviewed the recently appointed CEO, who revealed that there are several other issues to sort out before the company can launch an electric vehicle of any sort. One of the biggest problems was quality, which almost any modern McLaren owner can attest to.

"What I heard from my team is that in the past, we accepted a non-mature product and would launch it and deliver it to customers," lamented Leiters.

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2022 McLaren Artura Driving Front Angle
2022 McLaren Artura Rear View Driving

"The Artura was the first project where we didn't do that [deliver a car that was not ready]. We saw that the car wasn't mature, so we stopped deliveries. Doing this risked the financial position of the company, but I think this was important," said Leiters.

Unfortunately, numerous reports of reliability issues with the hybrid supercar have shown that this strategy did not work as intended. However, it is still encouraging to see that the British automaker is working on improving quality.

Leiters then spoke about EV technology. As you may recall, the automaker said in 2019, under its previous CEO Mike Flewitt's leadership, that the technology for an all-electric hypercar was not yet ready, but Leiters thinks things have progressed somewhat. The Rimac Nevera, for example, makes an excellent case for otherworldly electric performance.

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"The technology is much more mature [and allows us to] customize it to have a more lifestyle, a more utility purpose," said the CEO. "Words like 'utility' or 'lifestyle,' you'll obviously leap to certain conclusions. I think the key measure for McLaren is potentially something with the ability to share with more occupants in the car. Not necessarily higher-riding, but it could be."

This suggests that McLaren could launch an EV with four doors, potentially a sedan-like rival to the Porsche Taycan or a wagon-like alternative to the Taycan Cross Turismo, but that an electric alternative to the likes of the Ferrari Purosangue is not necessarily off the cards either.

Leiters added that an electric Mac would need to be lightweight and clearly show the brand's DNA, and we suspect that would be a lot easier to achieve with a luxury electric sedan than with a high-riding crossover.


Earlier comments made by the CEO reinforce that lightweight is critical and that the unique possibilities offered by an electric drivetrain could contribute to, not detract from, a satisfying driving experience. Individual wheel control opens up enormous possibilities for driving excellence. Still, McLaren would almost certainly need outside help to achieve this without again putting itself in financial trouble, something that Leiters admitted back in August.

Rumors have suggested that BMW, which supplied the engine for the iconic F1 and helped with the development of the Artura's hybrid system, could join forces with the brand once again. That won't democratize McLaren ownership, however, as Leiters said a McLaren, whether electric or otherwise, should cost no less than £200,000 (around $235,000). "We need to focus on profitability, not volume," explained Leiters.

In summary, McLaren is looking to improve quality and wants its first EV (rumored for a 2026 debut) to be special to drive. Fingers crossed that it achieves both of those ambitions.

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Source Credits: Evo via Auto Express

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