UK could lead supercar electrification with strategic investment

The UK has the potential to become a leader in the electrification of supercar production if it can attract investment into its domestic supply chain, according to McLaren Automotive CEO Michael Leiters.

He warned however that the current UK supply chain is not equipped to meet the performance requirements of electric supercars and called for a strategic roadmap for investment in future powertrain technologies.

“A clear industrial strategy, led by investment in the domestic supply chain, will deliver growth, support jobs, help decarbonise the economy, and secure a vibrant future for the UK performance car industry,” said Leiters. “We need to regain confidence in our sector by investing in a world-class domestic supply chain to support the development of tomorrow’s high-performance vehicles.”

He noted that the UK, once the world’s largest vehicle exporter, remains the home to some of the most admired performance car brands and the majority of Formula 1 racing teams.

Leiters said he believes the UK should now leverage its motorsport and performance car industry expertise to create a global high-performance centre of excellence.

Leiters said the next government would need to help “de-risk” the transition to electrification as the costs of this technological shift are astronomical, particularly at low-volume, highly specialised suppliers.

Hybrid vehicles, expected to dominate supercar sales this decade, still require locally sourced high-performance battery technology due to the EU’s ‘rules of origin’ requirements for exported vehicles. Leiters here noted that meeting these requirements will become even more challenging with the shift to pure electric vehicles.

Currently, the hybrid McLaren Artura powertrain has 64% UK content, but he said this would drop to 13% if the car were a pure EV because the necessary components are not available in the UK.

He added that developing a pure EV McLaren supercar that rivals or exceeds today’s models could help drive the transition towards pure electrification among mass-market customers.

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