McLaren Warns U.K. Could Miss Out on Electrified Supercar Opportunity

Supercar manufacturer's CEO says Britain has a big opportunity in electrified performance powertrains if battery supplies are domestically produced.

Paul Myles, European Editor

July 2, 2024

2 Min Read
McLaren P1 Nurburgring
Just 13% of McLaren P1 components produced in the U.K.

McLaren’s boss believes the U.K. is squandering the chance to be a world leader in electrified performance car powertrains through lack of investment.

Michael Leiters, McLaren Automotive CEO, tells the nation’s motor industry body’s sixth annual conference that Britain’s rich history in supercar production and motorsport could provide a “golden opportunity” economically but only if it can attract the investment needed for its domestic battery supplies.

Addressing the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) International Automotive Summit, Leiters says the existing U.K. supply chain is currently not equipped to meet the unique requirements of electric supercars. He calls on the new government coming to power this Thursday to provide a strategic roadmap for investment in future powertrain technologies.

He adds: “A clear industrial strategy, led by investment in the domestic supply chain, will deliver growth, support jobs, help decarbonize the economy and secure a vibrant future for the U.K. performance-car industry. It’s time we regained confidence in our sector by investing in a world-class domestic supply chain to support the development of tomorrow’s high-performance vehicles.”

He uses the example of McLaren’s ability to draw on the nation’s performance-car history to achieve a premium price for the products it creates. This means the gross value added of McLaren employees is 51% higher than that of the U.K. automotive manufacturing sector as a whole in a business that sees 90% of its supercars exported and bringing in money from abroad.

However, the lack of a meaningful drive to provide the special supply-chain needs of electrified powertrains remains the chief barrier to the nation exploiting its automotive manufacturing advantages.

Leiters says that because the nation lacks an adequate battery manufacturing capacity the economic advantages could be missed. He concludes: “Today, our hybrid McLaren Artura powertrain has 64% U.K. content. If this car was a pure EV, the U.K. content of the powertrain would reduce to 13% because we cannot currently source the relevant componentry in the U.K.

“In the future, a thriving U.K. supply chain specializing in cutting-edge, high-energy-density cells would not only support supercar production but also other advanced manufacturing needs such as vertical take-off aircraft and drones.”

About the Author(s)

Paul Myles

European Editor, Informa Group

Paul Myles is an award-winning journalist based in Europe covering all aspects of the automotive industry. He has a wealth of experience in the field working at specialist, national and international levels.

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