McLaren Premiering P1 Plug-in Hybrid at 2013 Geneva Motor Show

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McLaren P1 Concept plug-in hybrid

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McLaren Automotive introduced a concept plug-in hybrid called the P1 during last year’s Paris Motor Show. This sleek sports concept car borrowed heavily from the automaker’s experiences in Formula 1 racing while introducing green touches. A production version of the P1 plug-in hybrid is heading to Switzerland for the upcoming 2013 Geneva Motor Show. McLaren is celebrating 50 years in the automotive industry by promising initial deliveries of its latest model by December. The P1 sports car might be priced out of the reach of most consumers but combines Formula 1 styling with eco-friendly performance.

McLaren P1 concept plug-in hybrid

The core of the P1 drive system is a 3.8-liter V8 engine paired with a 131 kW electric motor capable of producing 673 kW. McLaren’s Electronics division created the motor specifically for the P1. The automaker adjusted a M838T engine developed in conjunction with Ricardo to work in unison with the motor. This interconnectivity ensures smoother gear shifts using the seven-speed transmission. McLaren notes that the motor facilitates energy recuperation during deceleration that allows for battery recharging on the move. A partnership between McLaren and Mobil 1 dealing with fuel-efficient lubricants further enhances the P1’s potential as a high-performance hybrid.

McLaren was concerned with the size and output of the battery pack when developing a production version of the P1 hybrid. The battery weights about 212 pounds and receives protection from a carbon-fiber skeleton called MonoCage. Drivers need not worry about overheating batteries thanks to a cooling system that maintains consistent temperature across every cell. An onboard charger allows the battery to be recharged fully in about two hours. McLaren notes that the charger can be unpacked for use outside of the vehicle if a driver is concerned about curb weight.

McLaren P1 concept plug-in hybrid

The P1 design team incorporated the Drag Reduction System (DRS) and Instant Power Assist System (IPAS) already tested by Formula 1 drivers. The DRS uses an adjustable panel on the rear wing to reduce drag by up to 23%. The IPAS provides a burst of power to the electric motor that gives a jolt to the engine. McLaren has added buttons on the steering wheel to allow a customizable driving experience. A driver can also deactivate the DRS by pressing the brake pedal. These features are certainly helpful on the race track but could improve commuting experiences on freeways.

McLaren P1 concept plug-in hybrid

Performance estimates were limited in McLaren’s initial release regarding the P1 plug-in hybrid. The vehicle is expected to produce less than 200 grams per kilometer in carbon dioxide based on early testing. McLaren claims that the P1 can travel up to 6.2 miles using only electric power before engine restart. We can only assume a high price tag for the P1 hybrid that leaves anyone without a few hundred thousand dollars to spare out of luck. The P1 hybrid heading to Geneva might seem extravagant and expensive but McLaren is meeting expectations for the company’s target customers. The mission to create an affordable plug-in hybrid for the mass market is left to Ford, General Motors, Toyota and other household names.

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