McLaren has unveiled its latest lightweight carbon fibre tub architecture that will underpin its upcoming line-up of electrified models, with the brand’s first hybrid supercar slated for launch next year.
Designed specifically to accommodate the marque’s upcoming hybrid powertrains, McLaren says that the new carbon fibre tub is developed completely in-house at its new Composites Technology Centre (MCTC) in Sheffield, UK, and will also be produced at the same site.
The company says that the new chassis is built using “world-first processes and techniques” to strip out unnecessary weight, while maintaining structural integrity and improve safety. For example, computer software is used to determine the shape and orientation of each sheet of carbon fibre cloth to optimise the shell strength and weight of the tub.
McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt said, “The new ground-breaking vehicle architecture is every bit as revolutionary as the MonoCell chassis we introduced with the company’s first car, the 12C, when we first embarked on making production vehicles a decade ago.
“This new, ultra-lightweight carbon fibre chassis boasts greater structural integrity and higher levels of quality than ever before with our new MCTC facility quickly becoming recognised as a global centre of excellence in composite materials science and manufacturing.”
This intensive light-weighting exercise was done specifically to offset the weight penalty from an electrified powertrain, thanks to the lithium-ion batteries. Flewitt has previously said to Autocar UK that the upcoming hybrid Sports Series model will be only 30-40kg heavier than the McLaren P1 of the Ultimate Series, which is two rungs higher in performance in McLaren’s model line-up.
“Our advanced expertise in light weight composites processes and manufacturing combined with our experience in cutting-edge battery technology and high-performance hybrid propulsion systems means we are ideally placed to deliver to customers levels of electrified high-performance motoring that until now have simply been unattainable,” Flewitt added.
“For us, light-weighting and electrification go hand-in-hand to achieve better performance as well as more efficient vehicles.” He also said that the new architecture would enable McLaren to “transition to 100% electrified supercars” – fully-electric P1, anyone?