Mc laren P1: A Formidable Electric beast

Cars fulfill various purposes and then there are those that are meant for something else. This article deals with the latter.

The Mc laren P1 is probably the best driver’s car in the world and this article is intended on proving why. Although it isn’t necessarily the loudest, the most technically dazzling, the lightest or the most powerful, its just the best and the most rewarding supercar to drive on the road and probably the most frequent on a circuit. The McLaren hinted on he next hyper car, a fully-electric car at the Geneva Motor show.

The McLaren is designed to perfection with carbon fibre- chassis racing cars since the MP4/1 of 1981 and has made only composite cars since. The inspiration behind the Mercedes Benz SLR Mclaren in 2003 came from F1.


The vehicle’s carbon fiber bodywork sits over a composite mono-coque whose central tub weighs just 90 kilos. The vehicle flaunts a bespoke structure that incorporates a roof, holds the hybrid’s battery and electronics and houses the snorkel that feeds air into the turbochargers.


The vehicle’s electric motor contributes a staggering total of 903 bhp. It has a good drive ability and this is one of McLaren’s greatest achievements. Its powertrain is married to a 7-speed dual clutch auto transmission through which torque is limited to around 664 lb ft. The vehicle’s suspension is an extension of the system by the 12C a hydro-pneumatic set-up that controls springing and damping. McLaren addresses to this system as Race Active Chassis Control (RCC).


There isn’t a great deal in the P1. At least nothing out of the ordinary to brag about. There are no carpets, there’s soundproofing and then there’s a fixed-back carbon fibre seats that has a little cushioning. The exteriors are quite sinewy and the p1’s innards seem pretty conventional for such a beastly machine. Although, there isn’t anything that the P1 lacks in terms of theatrics and power. The car has an F-1 influenced steering wheel with buttons for the DRS and KERS in the form of the IPAS electric motor system.


If you want to go from 0-60mph faster than the P1’s 2.8sec, or from 0-100mph faster than its 5.2sec, or cover a standing quarter mile more quickly (10.2sec at 147.5mph and climbing fast). But it’s the nature of the P1’s delivery, rather than its savagery, that is just as impressive. The P1 fires to an extremely loud idle – there are cars that drive at 50mph with less interior volume than a stationary P1 – but apart from the volume, there is no hint of its 238bhp- per-litre specific output or 8250rpm rev limit. It’s a clean, civil engine note and initial response is fine, too.

In all, the performance is pretty good. In the lower gears, it gives the deftly judged traction control a hard time, but dry traction is always impressive. Such is the severity of the initial acceleration allowed by the launch control system that rolling on to MIRA’s mile straight at, say, approaching 70mph buys only 5mph at the far end compared with a standing start.

And although the P1 never automatically cuts the engine to drive on the motor alone you can select an all-electric drive mode, in which the P1 is merely brisk. McLaren says this is useful if there’s a city in which you cannot drive an internally combusted vehicle, but given that the electric range is only six miles, it’s hard not to think that McLaren really made it just because it could and thought it would be fun. If a million-dollar car can’t be a bit of fun, what can be? In electric mode, the noises are more space port than race track, but in any mode the P1 sounds unusual; rather than explosions, the sound is dominated by vast quantities of air being inducted or forced through the turbochargers. It’s not traditionally intoxicating, but it’s pleasant enough.

Braking is superb. The discs are made from what McLaren claims is a new form of carbon-ceramic material, and they stop the P1 from 60mph – on part-worn tires on a just-dried surface – in only 2.26sec. They also only want 40.9m to haul the car up from 70mph, when we consider anything less than 50m to be fine.

But it’s the resistance to fade and their consistency that is most outstanding. Pedal feel is good – medium weighted and easily modulated, because there’s no battery regeneration to upset their feel. They’re at their best after a couple of warm-up stops, but from then on they’re indefatigable.


Price & rivals:

The McLaren P1’s price tag is £866,000 and it’s pretty understandable because of the features and everything that comes along with it. The P1 is limited to 375 units in order to maintain its exclusivity according to the company. Some of the competition involves Ferrari La Ferrari as well as the Porsche 928 Spyder. The Ferrari is a rear-wheel drive car like the McLaren but has no dedicated all-electric, city friendly mode. Porsche’s offering does retain an all-electric capability but sends its power to all 4-wheels. The P1 is one of the most affordable hyper-cars of today.


Top 7 Hybrid and Electric Cars

The fossil fuel era is slowly coming to an end. Although we might not see mainstream full electric or hybrid vehicles crowding the streets of Bangalore and Delhi for a few more decades, mass production manufacturers as well as boutique car makers are now exploring the possibilities offered by hybrid and electric mechanics. While most high end electric and hybrid vehicles are still well beyond the reach of the majority population, the following cars will serve as a preview to what’s in store for the rest of the world in a few decades:

Mercedes Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive:

One of the very first high performance fully electric sports cars from a major name in the auto industry, the Mercedes Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive employs a four motor system that produces a combined total output of a whopping 740 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. Despite its electric roots, the gargantuan power figures puts the SLS AMG Electric Drive right at the top as the German car maker’s most powerful two door coupe ever made. Sadly however, the total claimed range of German electric sportscar is a mere 155 miles (250 km) and most cars do not offer the exact same range as stated.

Mercedes Benz SLS Amg ED
The Mercedes Benz SLS Amg Electric Drive

BMW i8:

The BMW i8 was heralded as a technological milestone and has gained international critical acclaim since its debut. Initially premiering as a concept in the form of the BMW Concept Vision Efficient Dynamics, the i8 hybrid retains the majority of its prototypes’ pantomime exterior while working in legal requirements such as rear view mirrors, appropriate ride height and mass production spec wheels.

front view BMW i8
The BMW i8

Powering the hybrid Bimmer is a tiny 1.5 l turbocharged three cylinder petrol engine that works in tandem with a pair of electric motors that produce a combined total of 357 hp with a peak torque figure of 420 lb-ft. The i8 makes use of two transmission systems. While on only electric mode, a two speed transmission is available and on hybrid mode, the six speed automatic with manual shifting comes into play.

Tesla Model S (P85D):

The Tesla Model S is another milestone in the automotive community. One of the first electric sedans to combine the practicality of a full size sedan with the performance of a AAA sports car, the Model S is easily the best all rounder on this list. The American car’s large multi-function touschreen infotainment system eliminates the clutter on the dashboard commonly associated with high end cars. As a result, the four plus one seater sedan gives rise to a cabin that is both airy, spacious and high tech.

The Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S

Porsche 918 Spyder:

The Porsche 918 Spyder was part of the holy hybrid trinity that was launched last year. Although the 918 may be low on power when compared to its McLaren and Ferrari counterpart, the Porsche is the most well equipped of the lot. The 918 is also the only model in the hypercar trio that is a cabriolet as well. The 918 Spyder also features four wheel drive and four wheel steering providing better control for the less experienced.

The Porsche 918 Spyder
The Porsche 918 Spyder

McLaren P1:

The McLaren P1 is the long awaited successor to the legendary F1 supercar. Thus he P1 does for this decade what the F1 did for the 1990’s: redefine speed. Powering the hybrid supercar is a tiny 3.8 l twin turbocharged petrol engine that produces a not so tiny 727 hp and 531 lb-ft of torque and is paired with a 176 hp electric motor for a combined total of 903 hp. Similar to the Porsche 918, the McLaren P1 can also operate solely on electric power alone.

The McLaren P1 in Bahrain
The McLaren P1 in Bahrain


Revered by the automotive community as the pinnacle of mechanical and electrical engineering, the LaFerrari is the most powerful mass production supercar from Maranello ever made. The LaFerrari is to the Enzo what the McLaren P1 is to the F1, the official successor as the brand’s flagship product. With a name that literally translates to “The Ferrari”, the Italian car maker has endowed its most powerful machine with a moniker that conjures up an image of the last spartan, the Omega. With the launch of the 488 GTB, a turbocharged successor of the 458 Italia, Ferrari is now slowly but definitely moving with the times and the LaFerrari may well be the final naturally aspirated V12 from the manufacturer’s stable.

"Stylish and powerful"
LaFerrari, Ferrari’s magnum opus

Koenigsegg Regera:

Koenigsegg is a little known manufacturer outside the automotive community. Despite being in the industry for several years now, the bouteique hypercar maker is yet to garner mainstream fame partly due to the reserved nature of its founder and the rather confusing Swedish name.


The automaker’s cars however are far from reserved and its latest creation, the Regera is a hybrid plug in that completely obliterated the holy trinity in terms of sheer power alone by producing a tantalizing 1500 hp with an all new special one speed transmission system.