McLaren is exploring the possibility of offering an all-electric supercar, which might one day compete with the new Tesla Roadster.
Speaking to Autocar, the automaker’s engineering design director Dan Parry-Williams, confirms McLaren has developed a pure electric vehicle mule. Part of the reason for the mule is to see how McLaren can deliver driver engagement in a fully electric world, but added that “there’s still quite a journey from here to there in terms of our products.”
Like other supercar automakers, McLaren is still primarily concerned with battery technology and how range applies on the track compared to standard driving. “Let’s say you want to drive on track for half an hour,” he said. “If that was an EV, that car would have over 500 miles of EV range, and it would be flat as a pancake at the end. The energy required to do really high performance on track is staggering. And then you have to recharge it.”
And although battery development is progressing, Parry-Williams asks which direction is it going? Clearly, companies are more interested in energy-dense batteries that are good at providing additional range, compared to power density, which is required for performance driving.
Unsurprisingly, a fully-electric McLaren supercar is still a ways off, so for now McLaren will continue embracing hybrid powertrains. “If you exhaust the battery but then have to do one recharging lap, that strikes me as being okay,” Parry-Williams added. “But if you haven’t got an on-board generator [and] you’ve got a full EV, you haven’t got the luxury of doing that.”