McLaren began testing an electric supercar in 2017 to learn the ins and outs of making a battery-powered hypercar. The technology that powers EVs has evolved since the project started, but it's not advanced enough to power a mass-produced model, one of the firm's top executives told Australian website Motoring.
Weight is the main problem the company's research and development department is having a difficult time solving. An electric car is normally heavier than a comparable gasoline-powered car, because it relies on a big, bulky battery pack for power, and McLaren can't yet offset an electric powertrain's mass, according to the report.
The easy way out would be to use a smaller battery pack that delivers less range, but McLaren is committed to offering an electric model that enthusiasts can drive flat-out on a track for at least 30 minutes, according to Jamie Corstorphine, the company's global marketing director. He told Motoring that his team is ready to wait as long as needed to release its first electric car; it won't compromise range, performance, or both just to make headlines.
Development work is ongoing; McLaren will continue to put hybrid (pictured) and electric test mules through their paces in the foreseeable future. In 2018, CEO Mike Flewitt explained the automaker's philosophy is to leverage the benefits of a battery-electric powertrain to build a better sports car, not to merely make a cleaner one. He added fans of green performance shouldn't expect to see a McLaren without pistons before 2025, and it doesn't sound like that timeline has changed.
The segment will get very crowded, very quickly. Rimac, Lotus, and Tesla are among the numerous firms committed to releasing a battery-powered hypercar in the coming years. They'll possibly beat McLaren to the punch, though we've learned to take targets with a V12-sized grain of salt, but the company's executive team isn't eyeing the ring with bragging rights in mind.