Currently reading: McLaren EV test car highlights challenges of electric supercar
McLaren engineering design director confirms that the British marque has a pure EV test mule, but that a production vehicle is some time away
Matt Prior
2 mins read
21 December 2017

McLaren has maintained its intention to build an all-electric supercar, but its engineers have been telling Autocar more about the scale of the task ahead of them.

All-electric McLaren Ultimate Series cars in development 

“We’ve got a pure EV [electric vehicle] mule and part of the reason for that is to ask how we can deliver driver engagement in a fully electric world,” said Dan Parry-Williams, McLaren’s engineering design director. “But there’s still quite a journey from here to there in terms of our products.”

The biggest issue is still battery technology. “Let’s say you want to drive on track for half an hour,” said Parry-Williams. “If that was an EV, that car would have over 500 miles of [road] 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.”

Insight: Will McLaren be the first to produce an electric hypercar?

The pace of change, though, is promising. “It’s definitely on the up still,” said Parry-Williams, “but which direction is it going? There’s a lot more investment going into energy-dense batteries [which are good for providing long range] rather than power density [necessary to provide supercar levels of performance].”

A full EV is still a way off, then. In the meantime, hybrid McLarens (50% of all McLarens sold by 2022 will have hybrid powertrains) will provide performance without the performance drain. “You can potentially manage [a flat battery] with a niche car,” said Parry- Williams. “If you exhaust the battery but then have to do one recharging lap, that strikes me as being okay. 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.”

Read more 

McLaren Senna revealed 

McLaren 720S review 

McLaren P1 review 


Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

Read our review

Car review
McLaren 720S

This is the first of McLaren’s new generation of cars — and what a way to begin it is

Join the debate


21 December 2017
I think they're wrestling with an idea they knew you be hideous.

21 December 2017
eseaton wrote:

I think they're wrestling with an idea they knew you be hideous.

Umm.. What?

21 December 2017

Could that show.. Who will be the first one to produce a supercar? Porsche has there Mission-E pretty close to production. McLaren does not have the necissity to reach that level yet. Why not produce another fossil fuel car before have a crack at EV?



Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week