McLaren P1
Douglas Stansfield's picture

Has The Plug In Hybrid Broken Into The Super Car Space?

Recently I wrote about the BMW i8 and wondered who would want to buy this car.
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Recently it occurred to me that maybe BMW was attempting to provide an entry into the Plug In Super Hybrid market segment invented by the McLaren P1. The McLaren, from an EV standpoint is almost laughable with its 6.2 EV miles and its overall EPA 18 MPG fuel economy is also a joke. From an Engineering standpoint, the McLaren team has used the number one benefit of the Electric Motor and the strength of the V8 engine at its finest to make a true performance supercar that is truly a cutting edge car.

In terms of shear performance, the McLaren has married the technology of gas and electric to exploit the benefits of each. With the gas engine also hitting its peak Torque profile and high RPMs, the electric motor on the other hand has all its Torque at 1 RPM. So how about capturing that electric Torque to rev up the gas engine to a point where it can take over and continue increasing the torque where the electric motor starts to diminish.

That is exactly what the McLaren engineers have done and the P1s performance is unmistakable. Its 0-60 time is 2.8 seconds which matches that of the Tesla S P85D with Ludacris button. Its top speed is 245 mph but is electronically limited to 217 mph. The price point on this limited production run car is around $1.2 Million.

BMW i8 was likely trying to copy this high end supercar with its performance at a more working mans price of around $130k. Its attempt hasn’t quite worked out as well however. As referenced in the previously written article, the i8 doesn’t come close to the performance of the Tesla S and won’t even come close to that of the McLaren.

So if BMW can improve the i8s performance and leverage the electric motors power with the gasoline motor, it would dramatically improve the positioning of what is truly a performance car in waiting.

While the McLaren is built for speed and performance, BMW i8 has basic ingredients to increase the performance and make it an even more impressive car. While, I prefer the Tesla approach to performance, BMW is on its way to something good if they harness the Electric Motor of the I8 more than they do now.


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