McLaren won't build SUVs or pure EVs – CEO Flewitt –

Save for the limited-run McLaren P1, the track-only P1 GTR and more recently the Speedtail, McLaren Automotive’s model lineup has been one fully represented by internal combustion. That is to change soon with the forthcoming Artura, which will be the first series-production hybrid from the Woking supercar maker under its High-Performance Hybrid (HPH) banner set to debut next year.

That said, it doesn’t mean the supercar maker will be going all the way in the electrified direction. A question that McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt often hears is – will McLaren be building SUVs or fully electric vehicles? “The answer is no, we’re not,” Flewitt said in an interview with Wheels as published in Car magazine.

“The answer ‘no’ is an entirely rational one. Our brand is completely grounded in motorsport, supercars and drivers’ cars. It is way too early to be stretching the brand into other areas and trying to give the brand credibility to a product that clearly has nothing to do with our history,” Flewitt explained.

The next major step for Mclaren is in the direction of plug-in hybrid powertrains, the magazine said, and an all-new platform will replace the P11 carbon-fibre structure than has been in use since the firm’s first series-production model, the 12C. The hybrid powertrain in the new model will be all-new, and therefore different from those in the P1 and Speedtail.

A more recent hybrid offering from McLaren is the Speedtail, though this, too is a limited-run model, capped at 106 units

“I’m honest enough to say we only hybridise cars to meet environmental legislation to stay compliant, but we have managed to harness the technology to make a more exciting car with better attributes to it, so it makes sense,” Flewitt said of the company’s direction towards hybrid powertrains. By designing it into a platform, we’ve been able to make it a lot more efficient from packaging, weight and cost perspectives,” he said.

“After 2022 or 2023, I can’t see us (McLaren) launching any non-hybrid cars,” Flewitt revealed, indicating a predominantly electrified future for McLaren, partial though it may be. In terms of the forthcoming Artura, the weight penalty of the hybrid powertrain over an equivalent ICE is just 30-40 kg, EV range will be around 30 km and CO2 emissions will be less than 100 g/km, the magazine said.

Reaffirming McLaren’s grounding as maker of drivers’ cars, Flewitt said the new model “will be a better supercar, and one that is more compliant (to regulations) going forward. We are about putting the driver first, making the car phenomenal to drive, making it real so the thing’s got credibility,” he said. “We’re a young car brand. If we’re not real, we have got no future,” Flewitt said.

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