McLaren has spilled the beans on the hybrid powertrain at the heart of its outrageous Speedtail three-seat hypercar. It’ll get the job done with a 4-liter twin turbo combustion engine and a Formula E-derived electric motor combining for 1,055 horsepower.
On the combustion side: 747 healthy ponies and 800 Nm (590 lb-ft) of torque. A single electric motor then contributes “more than 230 kW” (310 horsepower) on top. That’s a decent total, but it’s the design and packaging of this motor that McLaren’s most proud of.
The motor, including its cooling and integration components, is super lightweight, delivering 8.3 kW/kg, a figure which McLaren says “is twice the efficiency of an average sports car” – are we talking about electric motors here or comparing it to the power density of a gasoline engine? Who knows?
The Speedtail’s hybrid system is purely there to fill in power gaps and will offer virtually zero in the way of all-electric range. The battery pack stores just 1.647 kWh, but has “the best power-to-weight ratio of any high voltage battery available today.” So it’s capable of putting out or recouping significant gobs of energy quickly. To make sure that doesn’t cause thermal issues, there’s a dielectrical cooling system, which sees the cells permanently immersed in cooling oil.
McLaren has been out in Florida, repeatedly validating the Speedtail’s 250-mph (403-km/h) top speed in what looks like a rather fun process, the test driver sitting front and center in a three-seater cockpit that recalls the mighty McLaren F1. Enjoy a video below.
Speedtail: Achieving the Maximum
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