New McLaren vehicle architecture now lighter with electrification potential

McLaren has revealed the new carbon-fibre vehicle architecture that will underpin its new generation of hybrid vehicles – and usher in an era of fully electric supercars, too.

It has been developed in-house at the McLaren Composites Technology Centre (MCTC) near Sheffield, where each tub will also be built before being transported to the McLaren production centre in Woking.

The platform is designed to be flexible so that it can be used in a variety of applications and has been developed specifically to allow for electrification, with the first McLaren using it to be launched in 2021.

McLaren chassis forming process

The British supercar maker has developed ‘innovative, world-first processes’ that gets rid of unnecessary mass to reduce weight and improve safety. The build sees hundreds of pieces of carbon-fibre cloth cut for each chassis, before being aligned using precise laser technology.

These pieces are then placed in a resin mould where they are clamped together, before being machined to accommodate the mounting of necessary components during vehicle assembly. The finished product is then transported to Woking so the car can be built.

Mike Flewitt, chief executive officer at McLaren Automotive, said: “The new ground-breaking vehicle architecture is every bit as revolutionary as the MonoCell chassis we introduced with the company’s first car, the 12C, when we first embarked on making production vehicles a decade ago.

“This new, ultra-lightweight carbon-fibre chassis boasts greater structural integrity and higher levels of quality than ever before with our new MCTC facility quickly becoming recognised as a global centre of excellence in composite materials science and manufacturing.

“Our advanced expertise in light weight composites processes and manufacturing combined with our experience in cutting-edge battery technology and high-performance hybrid propulsion systems means we are ideally placed to deliver to customers levels of electrified high-performance motoring that until now have simply been unattainable.

“For us, light-weighting and electrification go hand-in-hand to achieve better performance as well as more efficient vehicles.”

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