McLaren will officially announce its next-generation platform in spring next year, according to company CEO Mike Flewitt in a report by Car and Driver. The new platform will be used to underpin a range of new models from the company, with the first set to be revealed before the end of 2020.
One of the models planned is said to feature an all-wheel drive hybrid powertrain, which the new architecture will support, and should be significantly quicker in a sprint than the current, rear-wheel drive Senna.
Flewitt added that the platform can also accommodate plug-in hybrid systems with an EV range of up to 32 km, and that the brand’s entire line-up will be hybridised within three to four years. Of course, there will be some weight penalties given the need for an electric motor and battery pack, with hybridised models said to be 32 kg heavier than the current-generation cars.
The hybrid system will be compatible with turbocharged V8 engines, which will used for high-end models in its Ultimate Series, while a new, lighter turbo hybrid V6 could make its way into lesser models in the Sports Series and Super Series.
As for battery electric vehicles, McLaren isn’t convinced that today’s lithium-ion battery technology meets its performance values, given that they are heavy, expensive and not energy-dense enough. Flewitt considers solid-state batteries to be the way forward, although he doesn’t expect the technology to be commercialised until at least 2023. Even then, the McLaren CEO believes a fully-electric McLaren model might not arrive for another 30 years.
Given that other brands have dabbled in SUVs, Flewitt stated that McLaren has no plans to make its own, especially with its existing mid-engine architecture. He added that even if the company wanted to make an SUV, it would require an investment of up to USD1 billion for an all-new architecture to do so. “We’d never get a return on it,” Flewitt says.