McLaren P1 a 903hp hybrid

Last updated 08:40 21/02/2013
McLaren P1
McLaren P1 production line.

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McLaren's P1 supercar will be a 903 horsepower hybrid.

Click on photo to see more views of the McLaren P1 hybrid.

The main power will come from a mid-mounted 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine that will produced 727 hp at 7500 rpm and 720 Newton metres of torque from 4000 rpm.

The engine block has a unique casting to incorporate the lightweight electric motor which has been developed by the McLaren Electronics. It produces an additional 176 hp, and is unique to the P1. This motor produces maximum torque of 260Nm instantly from a standstill to greatly increasing the throttle response and peak combined torque of 900Nm is delivered from just 4000 rpm.

The electric motor is mounted directly onto the engine, and all drive is channelled through the dual-clutch seven-speed gearbox to drive the rear wheels. Thus, the electric motor and 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine work seamlessly together, providing more than just added ultimate power and torque.

McLaren claims that the e-motor can also provide faster upshifts which is achieved through the application of instant negative torque at the point of shift, making the engine revs drop as quickly and efficiently as possible to the required engine speed for the upshift.

McLaren has also worked on what it calls the "optimisation of usable energy" sayd that when off-throttle the electric motor provides additional drag torque, recovering energy to the battery that would otherwise be lost to the brakes.

The P1 can be driven in a variety of modes, powered by the engine and electric motor together, or solely by the electric motor. McLaren says the variety of modes ensures versatility and ease of transportation, allows use in low emission zones and residential driving is optimised with near-silent running.

Maximum power comes when using both powerplants together, but even in E-mode the performance is strong. E-mode is the most economical mode available with zero tailpipe emissions. In E-mode, the P1 can travel more than 10km with electric-only power – enough for most city journeys. When the battery is empty, the petrol engine will automatically start to maintain drive and charge the battery.

The power available via the petrol engine and electric motor is further enhanced on the P1 through two steering wheel-mounted buttons which activate the DRS (drag reduction system) and IPAS (instant power assist system).

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The P1's DRS system is a technology similar to that employed on Formula 1 cars. Speed is increased by reducing the amount of drag on the rear wing. The system immediately deactivates when the button is released, or if the driver touches the brake pedal.

IPAS is designed to deliver power rapidly for high performance acceleration, and provides 179PS of instant additional power. In developing the IPAS technology for the P1, power delivery was prioritised over energy storage. This is achieved through a groundbreaking, lightweight battery pack, which offers greater power density than any other automotive battery pack on sale today.

The high power density has been achieved through a combination of high power cells, low pack weight and an innovative cooling system. The battery weighs just 96kg, and is mounted onto the underbody of the high-strength Formula 1-grade carbon fibre MonoCage chassis, which seals the unit in the vehicle, thus avoiding the added weight of any unnecessary battery packaging.

Due to the amount of power being supplied by the battery, complex cooling is required to guarantee cell performance and reliability. The coolant flow is balanced so each cell is cooled to the same temperature across the entire pack.

In addition to the battery being charged via the engine, the P1 is also equipped with a plug-in charger which can recharge the battery, from empty, in only two hours. The plug-in charger can be stored in the luggage compartment, although the customer may choose to store it off-board – in a garage or the pits – to save weight.


The P1 official public unveiling will be at next month's Geneva Auto Show.

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