McLaren P1: Hybrid Powertrain Details


The headline figures for McLaren's Geneva-bound P1 are 903bhp and 900Nm torque, with emissions of less 200g/km of carbon dioxide. It's how the P1 goes about producing those figures that's the real talking point, however.

Hybrid Hypercar

Of the total 903bhp, nearly 20% is generated by a lightweight electric motor that's mounted directly onto the 3.8-litre V8 engine. The 176bhp motor's greatest asset is that it can develop maximum torque in an instant, which is rather handy in a performance car and helps increase throttle response significantly. Mimicking the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) boost that Formula 1 cars are equipped with, the P1 comes with something similar, whereby 100% of the power from the electric motor can be fed to the rear wheels at the touch of a button.

 

E-mode

The P1's battery pack, which weighs an impressive 96kg, is mounted upright behind the passenger cell, and holds enough charge to enable up to 6 miles of zero emissions driving, briefly turning the P1 into the most dramatic EV ever to hit the road. It can be plugged in and charged in 2 hours, bu,t as is common in hybrid cars, it is also recharged during conventional, engine-powered journeys through processes such as regenerative braking. McLaren are quoting just 200g/km carbon dioxide emissions on the combined cycle, but in reality the car will either emit zero emissions (when in E-mode), or quite a bit more than 200g/km when in full flight.

Whether it be through weight-saving, electric or hybrid drivetrains, manufacturers are putting environmental concerns high on their agenda. Using electric motors in supercars - as McLaren, Ferrari, and Porsche are doing - however, indicates their worth outside the environmental sphere - electric motors are simply more efficient that conventional ICE engines, and the proof will be in ever-faster puddings.

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