Currently reading: Electric McLaren P1 successor tipped for launch by 2030
McLaren CEO said hypercar must be comparable to V8 750S; won't have 2000bhp or weigh 2000kg

The long-awaited successor to the McLaren P1 is set to use electric power when it launches at the end of the decade.

Since the P1 was launched in 2012, the firm has frequently said through various different managements that there would need to be a step-change in technology for a successor to follow. McLaren has launched several hypercars since the P1, including the Senna, Speedtail, Elva and Solus GT, but none has been in the same lineage as the 1992 F1 and P1.

However, developments now, and ongoing over the rest of the decade, in battery-electric drivetrains make such a model more likely than it has ever been.

When asked if a model at the very top of the McLaren range was in the works to rival the likes of the all-electric Porsche Mission X, Porsche’s own successor to the P1-rivalling 918 Spyder, company boss Michael Leiters said: “We’re quite busy, yes.” Leiters detailed EVs as one of three pillars of powertrain development for McLaren, alongside internal combustion engines and hybrids, which will grow over the next five years to make up 90% of McLaren sales by that point.

McLaren P1 front quarter sliding through corner

As it stands, Leiters said the firm was “not sure” on electric supercars.

“The main reason for that is weight. We don’t want to make a car that is 2000kg and 2000hp – anybody can do that. That’s not in the DNA of McLaren.

"We want to make a car that is comparable to the 750 weight-wise; we don’t need 2000hp. We’re working on concepts for that, we’re exploring that and we have really exciting ideas around that. But it has to outperform what we do on an ICE.”

‘Outperform’ refers to not only the pure power output or performance figures but also the way the car handles and its agility. McLaren also expects a technology change for EVs not only in their capabilities but also in their ability to be exciting to drive and to fit within the brand’s DNA.

Leiters expected such an electric car to be ready “maybe at the end of the decade”. On the positioning of what that electric car would be – hypercar or supercar – Leiters said: “In general, I think the best way to introduce a new technology is top down.” That hints at potential for any innovative lightweighting measures and battery hardware to trickle down into the Woking firm’s more ‘mainstream’ line-up.


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McLaren F1 GTR front tracking

However, while McLaren is investigating electric cars, it is doing so without customer demand for them yet, as Leiters revealed when asked if any McLaren owners had asked for an EV. “No, but we have to be careful,” he said. “Times are changing and we have to prepare for new times. The success of the 750S shows our customers love ICE cars, but maybe there are other customers and they’re interested in other stuff.”

More broadly, he welcomed the EU’s proposal to allow cars powered by e-fuels to stay on sale as he doubts there is one technology to cover all use cases.

“For a use case like we have, low volume and low mileage, you have to invest so much in the emissions in the production of an electric vehicle. How can we recover that in our lifecycle? It doesn’t make sense, right? So I think it’s very important to always consider the environment and the circumstances in which you are making decisions.”

New McLaren V8 hybrid in the works

McLaren Speedtail side tracking 2020

McLaren has revealed plans to introduce a new line of V8 hybrid sports cars before launching any pure-electric models.

The marque announced earlier this year that it had renewed its partnership with Sussex-based engine supplier Ricardo to build a new-generation V8 engine to form the basis for an electrified drivetrain that will feature in “lightweight, high-performance hybrid supercars”.

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The introduction of a new V8 hybrid system – developed in-house at Woking – raises the tantalising prospect of a successor to the 250mph Speedtail, which pairs the 750S’s eight-cylinder engine with an electric motor for a combined 1055bhp, but the firm has given no further details of the performance potential of its new powertrains.

Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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jason_recliner 17 August 2023

Really excited to see what the genius engineers at McLaren deliver. F1, P1, Senna, Speedtail... you just know it's going to be EPIC.

manicm 14 August 2023

He took a good dig at the Lotus Evija. 

Peter Cavellini 14 August 2023

Most owners aren't interested i how far, most it's how fast, and, you won't ever see a high mileage one,yes cars like this are amazing but really in the real world they are not practical.

manicm 14 August 2023

I fail to see how an electric hypercar is any less practical than an ICE one.

Secondly he was obviously, and perhaps righteously taking a dig at the Lotus Ejima.