McLaren Speedtail reveals its hybrid powertrain secrets, and of course it's impressive

Zac Palmer


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Until now, McLaren has been keeping secrets about its three-seat Speedtail hypercar. We’ve known it’s packing a hybrid powertrain that produces a combined 1,055 horsepower and 848 pound-feet of torque, but that’s about it. Today, McLaren is spilling the beans, and what impressive beans they are.

The combustion engine is a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, rated for 747 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque on its own. Its output is nearly identical to that of the 765LT (rated for 755 horsepower and 590 pound-feet). And yes, the two are both equipped with McLaren’t M840T engines. However, the Speedtail’s hybrid powertrain is named M840TQ, since it features an electric motor to help it along.

And help the Speedtail along it does. McLaren says the single electric motor generates 308 horsepower on its own, which is an astounding figure for its application. The tech on display here is derived from Formula E, and McLaren is claiming it’s the “highest performing installation — including cooling and integration — of any electric motor currently in use in a production road car.” 

McLaren is also bragging about its new battery unit. It’s a 1.647-kilowatt-hour (mighty precise there, McLaren) cylindrical-shaped unit that’s “arranged in a unique way.” What way? McLaren doesn’t say. However, it’s an extremely compact unit, and McLaren claims it’s able to provide the best power-to-weight ratio of any high-voltage battery available today. It says the power density of the battery is four times that of the McLaren P1, the company’s only other hybrid vehicle

As for the cooling system, it’s also state-of-the-art. McLaren says the cells are “thermally controlled by a dielectrical cooling system and permanently immersed in a lightweight, electrically insulative oil which quickly transfers heat away from the cells.” This cooling technology is also being claimed as a first in a production road car. The benefit? It’s highly efficient, and will “allow the cells to run harder and for longer.” All of this is great news for future hybrid McLaren supercars, which are coming soon.

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