McLaren unveils carbon fiber architecture for new hybrid modelAugust 25, 2020
The firm continues its transition to electrified sports cars with a lightweight architecture for its first hybrid.
McLaren has unveiled a lightweight carbon-fiber architecture that will underpin its future electrified models as the company prepares to release its first hybrid next year.
The platform, developed at the new Composites Technology Center (MCTC) in Sheffield, was built with a focus on lightness to offset the added weight of the electrified drivetrain.
It is said to use “the world’s first processes and techniques” to reduce weight while maintaining structural integrity and increasing safety. The software determines the ideal shape and orientation of each carbon fiber sheet, for example, to optimize the strength and weight of the case.
CEO Mike Flyitt previously told Autocar that his ambition was to “produce a hybrid with the same weight as the outgoing car.” He added: “We are not going to do this, but we will be in the range of 30-40 kg. If you think that the P1 hybrid system weighs 140 kg, we have done a lot to cope with that weight. “
The prototype new Monocell architecture, codenamed PLT-MCTC-01 (Prototype Lightweight Tub, McLaren Composites Technology Center, number one) – left the £ 50m MCTC facility in 2019 and the crash testing program is due to begin earlier than launch of the first car based on Monocell.
McLaren previously said the Sheffield workforce will increase from 60 to over 200 when the architecture goes into production.
The carbon cases for the Speedtail hybrid hypercar and the new McLaren GT are manufactured by Austrian firm Carbo Tech, but MCTC will be manufacturing the new Monocell block. The company is moving into the production of electrified sports cars and will introduce hybrid powertrains for all of its sports series models, each of which will be based on a new architecture.
Earlier this year, the company’s first hybrid sports model (the P1 and Speedtail are both Ultimate Series) was spotted in prototype form, showing a production design similar to that of the new GT. Current sports series models include the 600LT, 570S and 540C.
The as-yet-to-be-named plug-in hybrid model will get its power from a twin-turbocharged V6 petrol mated to an electric motor of unknown power. Performance figures remain unconfirmed, but it is expected to be able to run on electricity only 20 miles on a single charge.
“The revolutionary new vehicle architecture is as revolutionary as the Monocell chassis that we introduced with the company’s first car, the 12C, when we first started production cars ten years ago. This new ultralight carbon fiber chassis boasts greater structural integrity and a higher level of quality than ever before, making our new MCTC facility quickly recognized as a global center of excellence in composite science and manufacturing, ”said CEO McLaren Mike Flyitt.
“Our excellence in the processes and manufacturing of lightweight composites, combined with our expertise in advanced battery technology and high-performance hybrid powertrains, means that we are ideally positioned to provide customers with electrified high-performance motors that were previously unattainable,” he added.
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