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McLaren Is Planning to Make an Electric Sedan: Report

McLaren's a bit behind the rest of the industry when it comes to electric vehicles, so it might require a technology partner to make it happen.

McLaren isn’t ready to make an electric supercar just yet. According to Auto Express, McLaren chief technology officer Michael Leiters said that electric vehicle tech just isn’t advanced enough for that just yet. Instead, McLaren wants to make a more practical electric car first and it could be some sort of performance sedan.

During an interview with Auto Express‘ sister site Evo, Leiters said that, instead of a supercar, McLaren will look into an electric “lifestyle” or “utility” car that can fit more passengers than a typical McLaren. Your mind might go to an SUV first, which is understandable given the current onslaught of ultra-expensive SUVs (Lamborghini Urus, Bentley Bentayga, Ferrari Purosangue, and the BMW XM) but it seems Leiters is leaning toward something smaller, saying that it doesn’t necessarily have to be “higher-riding.”

Whatever the more practical electric McLaren ends up being, Leiters has two requirements: that it be relatively lightweight and over $200,000. The latter is to keep McLaren’s focus on profitability, rather than volume.

Another way to keep an electric McLaren profitable is to partner with another brand. While McLaren was among the first brands to make a hybrid supercar, with the McLaren P1, it’s been slow to move forward with electrification ever since. And it can become too costly for a small brand like McLaren to develop its own battery and electric motor technology, especially for a low-volume car. So partnering with another brand that already has its own EV tech is the financially smart thing to do.

Which brand might McLaren partner with? There were rumors that Audi was interested last year, when it was trying to find a parter to enter Formula 1 with. However, Audi moved on from McLaren and is now partnered with Sauber. The next logical guess would be BMW. Not only does BMW have its own in-house battery and electric powertrain technology but the two brands have a history of working together. BMW supplied the engine for the legendary McLaren F1, the car that started McLaren’s career in road cars. So it would be sort of poetic if McLaren once again turned to BMW to power the car that could start its career in electric vehicles. That’s pure speculation at the moment, as neither McLaren nor BMW have said anything about working together, but it does make some sense from an outsider’s perspective.

The idea of an electric McLaren super sedan is interesting and it’s something I’d like to see happen. I have a feeling it will end up being an SUV because that just seems to be what high-end customers want at the moment but it would be nice to see McLaren buck the trend and go with a sedan. As for a technology partner, BMW seems like the logical choice but it will be interesting to see who McLaren chooses.

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