McLaren, Toyota, Audi and Others Adapting E-Drive Technologies to Road and Track
By Bill Moore
Racing powerhouse McLaren has developed their first electric hybrid, the P1, with an EV-mode range of 10 km. But they're not the only racing firms electrifying their metal and rubber steeds.
When I hear 'McLaren' I normally think of compact, powerful engines propelling screaming race cars around Formula 1 courses, not of street machines, but apparently they do them too and the newest model in the stable is the P1 pictured in the grayscale image above.
It is the first McLaren car to marry a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 gasoline (petrol) engine with an engine-block integrated electric motor developed by the firm's electronics arm. Together they produce 903 bhp, yet generate less than 200g/km of CO2 in combined cycle operation. This drops to zero when the car is operating in EV-mode. McLaren calls the mated drives IPAS for Instant Power Assist System.
Yes, you read that right: EV-mode. The McLaren P1 is, in fact, an electric hybrid with an electric-only driving range said to be in excess of 10 km (6 miles). Now that's not Chevy Volt-class range, but for a machine in this class, it's downright phenomenal.
For the moment, we don't know much more about the car in terms of pricing, availability, or top speed, though we have to assume it's somewhere around F1 numbers. Of course, this begs the question, where do it drive it that fast, safely that is? Presumably we'll learn more of those details at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show next month, but McLaren's announcement also coincides with other recent news from the racing world where hybrids and all-electric racing is starting to figuratively and literally 'gain traction.'
Also this week, Toyota announced that it was entering their re-engineered TS030 hybrid LMP racer (pictured in small frame above) in the 2013 World Endurance Competition, which it lost to Audi's trio of R18 e-tron hybrids in 2012. The new Toyota features improved aerodynamics and a more reliable, powerful engine producing 530 bhp. Its super-capacitor-based e-drive system, which drives the rear wheels, is rated at 300 bhp. Together they generate 830 hp. The first WEC challenge will take place in Britain at Silverstone on April 14th.
On top of hybrids gaining prominence on the world's race tracks - Audi's R18 e-tron won Lemans last year - all electric racing is moving forward with the first series set to be run in 2014. Organizers recently ordered 42 Lola-engineered, battery-powered cars for what they are planning to race on circuits around the world.
Originally published: 20 Feb 2013
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