McLaren has dabbled in electrifying its vehicles before. Remember the P1, McLaren’s limited-edition plug-in hybrid? It’s pictured above. McLaren built 375 examples over about two years and has yet to return to the battery-powered performance. That doesn’t mean McLaren isn’t exploring alternative powertrain options. The British automaker hasn’t been quiet about its plans, saying last year it’d convert to offering hybrid and electric vehicles by 2025. While that may still be the case, the company isn’t ready to deliver its electric hypercar just yet.
In a new interview with Motoring.com.au, Jamie Corstorphine, McLaren’s global marketing director, said the company is exploring a fully electric offering; however, the company wouldn’t produce one until it could promise it’d be a better sports car. It doesn't want to offer one simply to meet new emission standards or another benchmark. That means McLaren’s pursuit of lightness won’t go away with an electric hypercar.
However, weight is the reason for the McLaren electric hypercar’s delay. Corstorphine told the publication that McLaren would rather wait to deliver the best electric hypercar it can while respecting the company’s lightness philosophy. Electric vehicles offer exceptional performance, but they’re also heavy, which can hinder performance and the overall driving experience. If McLaren is going to build and produce an electric hypercar, then it’ll do it right.
McLaren wants its electric hypercar to be more than a necessity such as meeting tightening emission regulations or caving to trends before the technology is ready. Instead, the automaker wants to deliver an electric hypercar that not only packs the performance but also maintains McLaren’s lightweight design philosophy. While a fully electric hypercar is likely years away, the company does plan for hybrids to account for half its sales by 2022 with the company transitioning to electric and hybrid vehicles just three years later.