McLaren Artura High-Performance Hybrid powertrain, Apr 2021 copyMcLaren Artura High-Performance Hybrid powertrain, Apr 2021 copy


No point in making electric supercars just yet, says McLaren boss

  • Battery tech isn’t advanced enough yet to support electric supercars, says Michael Leiters
  • McLaren CEO highlights emissions imbalance in manufacture of EVs versus ICE cars
  • Supercars need to be light but EV batteries make them like SUVs, he says in Times interview

Time 8:19 am, September 2, 2023

McLaren Automotive’s chief executive has queried the logic of making electric supercars right now.

Michael Leiters says in an interview with The Times today that to manufacture them at the moment actually creates more emissions than building an internal combustion engine.

The owners then don’t put in enough miles to recover those extra emissions, because they use them as low-mileage vehicles, only notching up some 5,000 miles a year.

‘It doesn’t make sense today to have that for a supercar,’ he is quoted as saying.

McLaren has one hybrid model available at the moment, which is the Artura, pictured above, but despite being a ‘big fan’ of electric cars, Leiters reckons battery technology isn’t good enough at the moment for an all-electric McLaren.

‘It is too heavy. I don’t want to make a sports car, a supercar, which weighs 2,000 kilogrammes or 2,200 kilogrammes,’ he says in the interview.

‘A supercar is light. If we do an electric supercar, it will be light. It should be around 750 [kilogrammes] weight. It shouldn’t be two tonnes. Two tonnes is an SUV.’

A government ban on new petrol and diesel cars is set to come into force in 2030, with a ban on hybrids to follow in 2035.

Leiters reckons there might be progress by the start of the 2030s.

However, he added: ‘But if somebody is saying today, “We will ban [petrol and diesels] in 2030”, for somebody like us it will be very, very challenging to bring out a customer-relevant proposition for a supercar.’

Leiters joined McLaren Automotive as CEO in July 2022, having been chief technology officer at Ferrari.

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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