Engineering

McLaren shows us what will be underneath the skin of its next generation of supercars

The new McLaren carbon fiber hybrid architecture will make its way into its first auto next year.

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

They took it off. They took it all off. McLaren has peeled back the skin on its in-development hybrid supercar and shown the world its underthings. Specifically, a next generation of architecture that will underpin a new series of electrified supercars of the future.

The new architecture is lightweight and flexible - designed to house hybrid powertrains. It was produced by McLaren at their £50m state-of-the-art McLaren Composites Technology Centre near Sheffield, England.

The company says that the architecture utilizes "innovative, world-first processes and techniques". These engineering advances are emanated to reduce excess mass and overall weight of the models while improving the architecture's safety attributes.

McLaren architecture design processPhoto courtesy of McLaren Automotive

"The new ground-breaking vehicle architecture is every bit as revolutionary as the MonoCell chassis we introduced with the company's first car, the 12C, when we first embarked on making production vehicles a decade ago," said Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive.

"This new, ultra-lightweight carbon fibre chassis boasts greater structural integrity and higher levels of quality than ever before with our new MCTC facility quickly becoming recognised as a global centre of excellence in composite materials science and manufacturing.

"Our advanced expertise in light weight composites processes and manufacturing combined with our experience in cutting-edge battery technology and high-performance hybrid propulsion systems means we are ideally placed to deliver to customers levels of electrified high-performance motoring that until now have simply been unattainable."

The architecture's production process features five major steps. First, hundreds of pieces of carbon fiber are cut. Then, lasers guide the alignment of the cut material onto 2D platforms. From there, the platforms are loaded into a resin transfer mold and resin is injected while the parts are clamped together under high pressure.

The molded chassis is then removed and machined to be a perfect fit for the powertrain and other components that are part of the model's final assembly.

The first McLaren hybrid supercar that will be based on the new architecture will launch in 2021.

Trending News

 
 

First-year Ford F-150 Lightning production numbers doubled
Ford

Ford has begun serial production of the new F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, marking what could be one of the most important days in recent automotive history. The first trucks rolled off the assembly line at Ford's Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Michigan today, so America's best-selling truck has finally gone electric. Ford wants to sell two million EVs per year by 2026 and have half of its global sales volume to be electric by 2030.

Ford F-150 LightningPast meets future: Ford's new electric pickup will be the F-150 Lightningautomotivemap.com

Ford has seen extreme demand for the trucks, with 200,000 reservations since the books opened. To deliver, the automaker plans to increase production to an annual rate of 150,000 units by next year, which involved huge investments in the Rouge Center and created hundreds of jobs. Ford's total investment for the F-150 Lightning crests $1 billion across Michigan alone, and has created 1,700 jobs across various facilities in the state.

Ford F-150 LightningThe first production trucks left the factory today.
Ford Motor Company

Though the Lightning starts around $40,000, the most mainstream models will cost much more than that. The F-150 Lightning Pro, while affordable, is a stripped-down truck intended for commercial buyers. It's still a forward-looking electric truck with amazing capabilities, but it lacks much of the creature comforts and features that everyday drivers expect. Higher trims get the latest driver assistance features, including BlueCruise, which is Ford's semi-autonomous hands-free driving assistant. A 12-inch touchscreen is standard, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and more.

Trending News

 
 

Electric pickup truck

Ford F-150 Lightning could get tank turn

Ford patented a tank turn feature in late 2020.

Ford

The F-150 Lightning is packed with cool tech and capability, but we're learning that Ford has even bigger plans for its first electric pickup. Inside EVs found an exciting document on the Lightning Owners Forum that shows ford applied to patent a tank turn feature like the one we saw Rivian pull off a few years ago, where the truck spins around a center point using its electric motors. Rivian's tank turn feature still hasn't made it to market, so it's possible that Ford beats them to the punch.

Ford F-150 LightningTank turn allows the truck to spin while almost completely stationary.Ford

Ford applied for the patent in October 2020, but it's just now making its way out. In the document, Ford gives an example of how it could work: "Methods, apparatus, systems and articles of manufacture are disclosed to perform a tank turn. An example vehicle includes a first wheel and a second wheel, the first wheel located on an end of a first axle, the second wheel located on an end of the second axle, the end of the first axle opposite to the end of the second axle, a first suspension coupled to the first wheel, a second suspension coupled to the second wheel, and a controller to drive the first axle in a first direction, drive the second axle in the second direction and decrease a first suspension load of the first suspension and a second suspension load of the second suspension."

As Inside EVs points out, Rivian's tank turn feature employs the R1 T's quad-motor setup to drive each wheel individually. The F-150 Lightning doesn't currently have a four-motor choice and instead offers two motors – one on each axle. It's important to note that Rivian patented tank turn and showed that it could work, but there hasn't yet been a production vehicle that offers the capability. Toyota filed a patent in 2019, but again it's just paperwork at this point.

Ford F-150 LightningNo automaker has brought tank turn to production yet.

To achieve the turn, Ford has a few options. The most obvious would be to offer a quad-motor upgrade in future model years. It's unclear if such a feature is in the works or if Ford plans to provide beefier versions of the Lightning, such as a Raptor variant with upgraded motors. The automaker could also design gearing to reverse the wheels on one side while the others drive forward, or it could use braking to lock the wheels and tighten the turning radius.

Trending News