Over the next six years, it looks as if McLaren will “go green” in a number of ways—environmentally and in investing. In addition to plans for more than half of the company’s cars to be hybrid by 2022, CEO Mike Flewitt said McLaren will invest in research and development for 15 new products during that time period.
Flewitt discussed his plans for the company with Automotive News Europe in a recent interview, which include traditional—not plug-in, ideally—hybrid cars and an investment of nearly $1.5 billion in R&D. With sales of only 1,654 cars in 2015, the plans are big for McLaren Automotive. But Flewitt plans to up car sales to about 3,000 this year, and near 5,000 by 2022.
In regards to the rather large investment, Flewitt said he’s “got to earn” the money over the next few years—not turn to investors. From Automotive News Europe:
It’s all revenue driven. The strategy is to keep the business profitable, but with relatively small profits: 5 million pounds in the first year, 15 million in the second year and single figures again last year. What we have been doing is investing 25 percent of revenue back into new product. That’s what we’re going to do over the next few years to create 15 new products. Shareholders don’t put money in. They haven’t since 2013. But they don’t get any money out either. The value for them is the growth in the business.
The largest part of the investment, Flewitt told Automotive News, “includes a completely new powertrain architecture and new structures.” The cars will keep the standard two-seat, mid-engine configuration.
Flewitt said the hybrid will be ready by the end of the decade, but don’t expect a plug-in option—despite the advantages to plugs, he said “a stand-alone hybrid is more convenient.” Stand-alone hybrids run primarily off of the gas engine, whereas the main power source for plug-in hybrids is the electric motor.
Despite having a plug, the place to look for McLaren’s hybrid experience is the McLaren P1—a promising example. The electric and gasoline systems together make 903 horsepower, all with emissions under 200 grams per kilogram on the combined cycle. For more on how the P1’s hybrid system works, head over here.
Flewitt wouldn’t admit what the upcoming configuration will be, but did give hints about what to expect. From Automotive News Europe:
It will be specifically designed for a hybridized application. In the latter part of this business plan to 2022, more than half our cars will be hybrids. This second powertrain will run in parallel to the eight cylinder we have today and will have hybrid technology integrated into it from day one.
The main reason behind moving to hybrids is meeting emissions standards, Flewitt added. Despite having different requirements for CO2 due to being a smaller manufacturer, Flewitt told Automotive News that McLaren still needs to lower emissions since inspectors in the U.S and in Europe want to be shown improvements. From Automotive News Europe:
The only real solution [to lowering emissions] is a hybrid powertrain. What’s very important is that it won’t just be a hybrid variant, it will be fully integrated. It needs to add to the experience.
The full interview with Flewitt can be read here.