McLaren urges UK to future-proof supply chain to become global leader of electric supercars

The British automotive’s CEO thinks there’s a “golden opportunity”, also announcing that 90% of its supercars will be electrified in the next five years

McLaren’s CEO thinks that the UK now has a “golden opportunity” to become the global home of electric supercar manufacturing, provided it can future-proof its supply chain and attract investment in critical technologies.

Speaking at the FT Future of the Car Summit in London, Michael Leiters said that the UK must attract investment in key areas including power-dense, high-performance battery technology.

Mr Leiters said the technology – which is crucial for delivering a fully-electric driving experience that exceeds that of today’s combustion engine supercars – would be ready within the decade.

In another announcement, the company also said that over 90 per cent of its supercars would have some form of electrification within five years.

The news coincides with Michael Leiters announcing the continuation of its multi-year partnership with… Ricardo (not Daniel!). The UK engine manufacturers will supply its McLaren-designed high-performance V8 engines at the heart of its hybrid powertrains.

Although McLaren already does have a hybrid V-engine in its roster – the sleek, stylish and super-fast Artura (0-100kph in 2.9sec), equipped with a 671bhp, 3.0-litre V6 plus e-motor setup. But this all but confirms that V8 hybrid powertrains are set to become an integral part of the Woking-based auto company’s future.

The new units will be designed by McLaren and assembled by Ricardo at its purpose-built factory in Shoreham-by-Sea.

McLaren Artura
McLaren Artura

Ricardo CEO Graham Ritchie said: “We are extremely pleased to have concluded this new engine supply agreement with McLaren Automotive for their next-generation high-performance V8 powertrain, which extends the long-term relationship between both companies into the next decade.”

Mr Leiters, however, warned that investment in the supply chain of critical technologies is essential for UK high-performance car manufacturers to remain competitive on a global scale. He continued that if McLaren was to switch powertrains to pure-electric today, the amount of British-sourced components would drop from 75 to 35 per cent.

“The UK has a rich history in motorsport and performance car manufacturing which – with the correct playing conditions – means the UK is ideally placed to lead the world in the development of the next generation of supercars and related technologies.”

Mr Leiters added that McLaren’s core technological expertise in lightweight carbon fibre and aerodynamics can help improve energy efficiency and is not only applicable to supercars but is also “attracting strong interest from other sectors including the aerospace industry”.

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