Mclaren Speedtail Packs In Groundbreaking Battery Technology


While we all wait for Tesla’s battery investor day, McLaren has gone ahead and released some of the secret sauce behind their “fastest ever” hybrid-hypercar, the 1,055 hp Speedtail Hyper-GT. After reaching its top speed of 250 mph 30 times in a row for validation tests, McLaren has shared details on their new high-power cylindrical battery cells, ones that they say are delivering the best power-to-weight ratio of any high voltage battery available today.

The engineers at McLaren started with the powertrain of their P1 hypercar, taking the 4.0 liter twin-turbo V8 and redesigning its air-intake, cylinder head cooling, and pistons. This combustion engine alone contributes 747 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. Next came the Formula E-derived electric motor, which generates more than 308 hp (270 kW), bringing the Speedtail’s total power to 1055 hp and a max of 848 lb-ft of torque.

In a vehicle weighing just 1,430 kg (3,153 lbs), that means acceleration from 0-186 mph (0-300 kmh) in a mere 13 seconds!

What’s really groundbreaking here are the cells themselves. The 1.647kWh unit is extremely small, but delivers the best power-to-weight ratio of any high voltage battery available, with four times the power density of the McLaren P1’s unit. These cells, with their advanced cooling and design, deliver what McLaren says is the highest performance of any electric system available, with 8.3 kW/kg efficiency.

Needless to say, this required some new power-management and cooling technologies to be applied. McLaren took Formula E inverters and DC converters and put them in the Speedtail, as well as a new cooling system for the cells. This innovative cooling system actually immerses the batteries inside of an oil, which is insulative and lightweight, for higher levels of heat dispersion.

What more can be said for this beautiful three-seater? That I want to test-drive one immediately, speeding away from the track, disappearing, never to return again?

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