McLaren Working on Supercars with Electric Powertrains, Semi-Autonomous Capabilities

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【Summary】McLaren may be known for making some of the world’s greatest sports cars and supercars, but the British automaker is looking to join others in a push to EVs and autonomous vehicles.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Feb 16, 2018 10:30 AM PT
McLaren Working on Supercars with Electric Powertrains, Semi-Autonomous Capabilities

While nearly every automaker is looking into semi-autonomous vehicles, one would assume that auto manufacturers that focus on high-end performance vehicles would stay the course, opting to make vehicles that are more engaging to drive instead of taking driving out of the equation. But as we've seen with Aston Martin, that isn't the case. 

Last February, Aston Martin stated that it would come out with an autonomous vehicle in the near future. The automaker, though, would be focusing its efforts on cybersecurity issues first. Another British automaker, one with an even greater heritage in the world of high-performance vehicles, has come out and stated that it too would be focusing on electric vehicles and autonomous cars.

No One's Safe From Making Electrified, Semi-Autonomous Cars

In an interview with Autocar, McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt claimed that the next generation of high-performance vehicles from the brand would utilize hybrid powertrains and have some autonomous capabilities. The news that McLaren is looking into hybrid powertrains isn't really new. Back last August, we heard that the British automaker was developing an all-electric model that could be as fast as the 675LT. The autonomous part is a little disconcerting for McLaren and enthusiasts alike. 

But don't get too upset, as it's highly unlikely that the automaker's next set of vehicles will be able to drive themselves. When asked about autonomous vehicles, Flewitt stated that the brand would be "selective."

"We will be selective," he said. "Autonomy is in its own right isn't that appealing to our customers, but we need to have capabilities designed in for safety, legislation and emissions." Flewitt's statement doesn't make it sound like the automaker is aiming to have fully-self driving cars on the road any time soon. Instead, it sounds like the automaker will put semi-autonomous safety features, like automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control into its vehicles. 

Attempting To Stay Relevant Is Key

Motor Trend reached out to McLaren to get a better idea of what kind of autonomy Flewitt was talking about and found that advanced safety features are in store for future sports cars. "All we can add for now is that McLaren provides entertainment not transportation," stated the spokesperson. "We will be as relevant in a world where the routine is managed autonomously as we are now. We see two scenarios in relation to the autonomous vehicle opportunity: our cars can be single purpose in providing entertainment, or dual purpose with autonomous functionality where required for safety or environmental reasons. Ultimately, we will give drivers a choice." 

Autonomous cars may still be up in the air for McLaren, but electrified vehicles are definitely in store for the brand. According to Motor Trend, the spokesperson stated that a good amount of the brand's vehicles would be electrified. The spokesperson stated that "at least half of our output will be petrol-electric hybrid by the end of 2022. Can't say more than that at the moment because as Mike told Autocar, we haven't ruled out non-hybrids too. Particularly in the Ultimate Series." 

The brand's Ultimate Series is currently made up of the sold-out P1 (pictured above) and the track-only P1 GTR. A new vehicle called the P15 is expected to come out in the near future. 

McLaren clearly has a busy road ahead of itself. The brand will stuff hybrid powertrains into its vehicles, an electric supercar is already in development, and driver-assist features are in store for future vehicles, as well. Luckily, if enough drivers continue to enjoy driving, McLaren won't make a fully-autonomous vehicle anytime soon. 

via: Motor Trend, Autocar

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