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Hints At a McLaren Hybrid

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On: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 3:46AM | By: Chris Weiss

Hints At a McLaren Hybrid

One of my favorite types of auto or tech leaks is the unavoidable job posting leak. The company in question clearly needs some new blood to help it step into a new direction and it can't help but advertise. And while company execs are busy trying to bulk up their team toward future production, the media world is scouring the ads and making educated guesses as to what the company is up to.

This week, Autocar indicates that McLaren is getting busy on a hybrid powertrain. The magazine spotted a job ad for an electrical engineer needed to work on the "concept, design and development of the electrical package and wiring system for a hybrid electric vehicle." That really sums it up pretty clearly: expect to see a McLaren hybrid at one of the major European auto shows sometime within the next couple of years.

In response to an inquiry, a McLaren spokesperson explained to Autocar: "Hybrid technology is something that we are looking at and assessing. It is something we are interested in."

The new job and statement from McLaren lend support to previous hints provided by the company that it was interested in developing hybrid technology.

The idea of a McLaren hybrid should really come as no surprise. McLarenis making a big push into the marketat a time when hybrid technology is the hot trend in supercars. Cars like the Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid, which is already approved for production, and the Ferrari 599 Hy-KERS have been hoarding the spotlight at auto shows around the world. Both of those concepts were introduced at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show in March. McLaren has already indicated that it plans to expand its production line well beyond the MP4-12C by introducing a car each year until 2015, so why wouldn't it want to include a hybrid in that mix?

As for the other cars in the segment that McLaren is looking at, the 918 Spyder Hybrid that was shown at Geneva featured a 5.4-liter V8 engine worth 500-hp and electric motors, combining for a total of 718 horses. Production was confirmed earlier this summer, and rumors indicate that it may get even more power in its final iteration and cost around $650K.

The 599 Hy-KERS vettura laboratorio concept from Ferrari used a 100-hp motor to provide all-electric driving at low speeds and acceleration boosts during overtaking. Ferrari left the 6.0-liter V12 engine of the traditional 599 GTB in the concept. In addition to powering the motor, the batteries also provided power to such features as power steering and air conditioning, cutting the pull on the gas engine. Ferrari indicated that the hybrid version could cut emissions by up to 35 percent over the gas 599. While strictly a concept, the system in the 599 Hy-KERS may preview a direction that Ferrari takes in a future production hybrid.


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