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McLaren CEO hints at plug-in hybrid SUV

McLaren CEO hints at plug-in hybrid SUV

  • McLaren may build an SUV and use a partner for the platform
  • The SUV might be a plug-in hybrid rather than an EV
  • An electric supercar is being developed as a precaution

McLaren Automotive has been exploring an SUV since at least 2022, the year Michael Leiters joined the company as CEO, and now he’s spilled a few details on just what route a potential McLaren SUV could take.

In an interview with Road & Track published on Wednesday, Leiters the company could expand its portfolio of with a “shared performance vehicle,” which R&T took to mean an SUV because it would be big enough to share the performance with other passengers. He also noted the development may involve a technology partner that could supply a suitable platform.

He also hinted that the vehicle may end up as a plug-in hybrid instead of an electric vehicle. Rumors of an electric SUV first surfaced after McLaren entered the Extreme E electric off-road racing series in 2022.

“If we do a (plug-in hybrid), we want to understand if we can use our own powertrain,” he told Road & Track. “To integrate our powertrain into an existing platform—that would be the ideal world.”

Michael Leiters

Michael Leiters

With Leiters, McLaren is well poised to launch an SUV. Prior to joining McLaren, he served as Ferrari’s chief technology officer, where he helped develop the Purosangue. He also previously worked at Porsche, where he helped develop multiple generations of the Cayenne.

Leiters also revealed in the interview that McLaren is developing an electric supercar, purely as a precaution in case the market demands one. The biggest issue, he said, has to do with the heavy weight of batteries, though he also said he’s confident the company can get the weight of an electric supercar down to around a target of 3,300 pounds,which the current Artura plug-in hybrid supercar weighs.

However, he’s previously said that the technology to deliver a lightweight electric supercar that can also deliver a decent stint on the racetrack won’t be ready until 2030, meaning the wait for such a car might be a long one. That likely isn’t a problem for McLaren, since even the boss of EV technology company Rimac, Mate Rimac, said just last month that there isn’t much demand for electric supercars.

In the meantime, McLaren will focus on expanding its core range of gas and plug-in hybrid supercars. McLaren is also developing a next-generation V-8 designed for hybrid applications, one of which is rumored to be a P1 successor.

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