In four years’ time, McLaren expects half of its fleet will be hybrid, but the sports and luxury car maker says it has no plans to build an all-electric vehicle, despite industry trends. McLaren photo.
McLaren director of global sales says company won’t produce an EV just to demonstrate technology
British sports and luxury automaker McLaren says it has no plans to build an all-electric vehicle, even though their competition including Corvette, Mercedes-Haybach, Porsche, Rolls-Royce and Ferrari have all announced plans to make all-electric concept cars.
Jolyon Nash, McLaren’s director of global sales told Bloomberg he knows “very little” about the Formala E electric car racing series. When asked about electrified powertrains in global Formula racing, Nash said “To be quite frank, whatever thoughts I’ve got will be quite uneducated.”
“I’m a traditionalist. I love to hear the sound of an engine going around a track. Formula E doesn’t provide that,” said Nash.
In four years, Nash expects hybrids to make up half of his company’s fleet, but currently there are no plans for McLaren to build all-electric vehicles or even a halo car or a conceptual design exercise.
“We wouldn’t want to produce a car just to demonstrate technology—that is just not us,” Nash told Bloomberg.
According to Bloomberg, McLaren is staying loyal to its relationship with its small, devoted and largely racing-obsessed customers. Despite Formula E gaining popularity, there are a number of F1 enthusiasts who would resist a product that sacrifices speed and athleticism for alternative power.
McLaren fans are racetrack and not ecologically minded.
A quiet, smooth electric car lacks the throaty roar and rumble of an internal combustion engine and for traditional car lovers, an EV makes for a less thrilling driving experience.
“The [uniquely engaging] experience of driving the McLaren vehicle, which is the reason people buy Mclarens, ultimately has to meet customer expectations—and McLaren is not ready to commit to that for electric,” Ian Fletcher, the principal automotive analyst at IHS Markit told Bloomberg.
Also, one of the roadblocks facing McLaren’s journey to electrification is weight. Electric batteries add a significant amount of weight to a car, and change the driving dynamics of the vehicle.
Manufacturers can build an electric car with power-dense batteries, which create impressive horsepower or they can make an EV with batteries to offer buyers longer driving range. But, they cannot offer both.
“Until the technology develops sufficiently for both power and range, I think it would be hard to have an exciting supercar that is pure electric,” Nash told Bloomberg. He added “We haven’t quite got our heads around how that’s going to work.”
McLaren has begun building its 903-horsepower hybrid P1 in 2013 and next year is expected to unveil its production version of the BP23. The BP23 hybrid is a three-seat, super-fast prototype.
“McLaren is a very nimble company. Even if they’re not planning on moving ahead with all-electric at the moment, they’re on the cutting edge of what’s happening in the electrification sector,” Fletcher told Bloomberg. “And anyway, you can never say never in the auto space. Everyone is hedging their bets.”