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McLaren P1  Electric Cars

McLaren P1: Design Materials

Lane | 08 May 2013

It’s for one car to break new ground in so many but development of the McLaren P1 has seen step changes in material aerodynamics, performance, aesthetic and electric powertrain technology.


McLaren’s Norman Foster-designed Centre to find out more the P1’s gestation period at fewer than four has been quite frantic an insight into the distinctive behind the car. The seemingly vibe in Woking isn’t that everyone appreciates yet the P1 is a piece of design. Here are details concerning how the design was managed and the materials used.

follows function, or does it?

design team is tiny. BMW employs over 800 design there are just five at Woking. This is partly as a highly specialised outfit are only ever a small of McLaren cars that need designing.

The real for such a condensed design however, is more fundamental to the philosophy than mere suggest.

McLaren’s aerodynamicists and engineers side by side with the designers from the off. are the other half of the design Proof of this characteristically marriage is in the shrink-wrapped pudding of the exterior design.

After the concept was unveiled in Paris year there was some that the P1 had been designed in a tunnel and there’s certainly truth in that accusation.

you would give the design several months of free time. However, the performance for the P1 was so great that we had the aerodynamicists and the sitting with the designers, together to ensure that was being proposed could meet the performance targets,” Paul Mackenzie, who as programme has overseen ‘Project One’ its embryonic stages in 2009. The of a Formula One-calibre aerodynamic breathing down your whilst you sketch is almost the stuff of nightmares for most car

Still, it’s an image sums up the P1 nicely.

The scale model McLaren to develop the the P1 s aerodynamic properties is detailed — even the calipers are accurate. Incredibly for a car, the P1 develops 600kg of at 150mph when the rear is deployed.

Designer Paul whose original concept was eventually chosen in February echoes Mackenzie’s sentiment. about design not styling. You draw something that awesome, but it would be a show car no function. It wouldn’t be able to what this car achieves as a package”. Howse’ father worked on the assembly of McLaren’s supercar, the F1, and so for all the seemingly cold of the McLaren approach to building there is some romance all.

It’s also mentioning that the P1 is Howse’s car since he graduated from the College of Art in 2008.

Suppressing creative thought whilst any car is hard enough but shelving impulses during the conception of a the most evocative of automotive — requires designers to a completely different mindset. mindset sprung from the ‘persuasion of airflow’ as Paul who actually sketched the P1, puts it into a design language and inspiration from hydroformed commonly seen in marine The broad, curved leading natural to Manta rays and became the inspiration and if the P1 is biomimicry as it’s called — in the then today’s Formula One surely preview the hyper-evolved forms of the future.

It’s all very ‘golden

Step one was to vacuum-pack the P1’s internals as closely as possible, then could the designers backwards until the car’s were right. This is the opposite of standard practice, beauty takes precedence and is tweaked to facilitate the small of physics. As power and speed and with them the stakes, the equilibrium shifts. Whether you the balance between functionality and has been struck with the P1 is a and personal issue, but there’s no that the process was a painstaking as possible for an automotive design to be.

McLaren P1  Electric Cars

The P1 is an exercise in organic geometry implemented by the hands and minds of In this respect it’s a humbling.

This is the P1 s tight-fitting carbon shell. A total of 200 separate comprise just three The heaviest moudling — the monocell — weighs 90kg.

The close-fitting nature of the bodywork draped over the powertrain led to a need to integrate components. The metallic louvres above the engine, for example, up as a heat shield and as such are of titanium. Simply put, squashed the body down so that there wasn’t for both louvres and a heat so two became one using one of the only capable of doing the job. The rear section of the exhaust is clad in gold foil, in the interests of heat management, is just as well given in race mode the air exiting the car is just shy of 1,000C.

Gordon employed the same seemingly yet technically justified trick on the predecessor in 1992.

On the subject of materials, it almost goes saying that the P1’s and interior is made entirely carbon fibre. Over 200 components have been merged into just mouldings: the frontal bodywork, a ‘monocage’ structure and a larger but flexible piece of rear All are incredibly light; the front and sections can be lifted with one These carbon fibre serve as a poignant illustration of the of engineering McLaren has poured the P1.

When McLaren was sourcing for the project the lightest carbon on the market weighed 1.7kg per metre. Fast-forward three and the P1 panels weigh 1.5kg per metre. It’s the sort of to a singular cause that you help but admire, even so if your business card Ferrari S.p.A on it, one must

Despite its dramatic looks aren t very many on the P1. Air doesn t like edges, and so possible a large leading has been used. The P1 s front is the best example.

If aerodynamic is one major theme of the P1 then saving is certainly the other. The glass that forms the jet canopy above the driver’s is just 2.4mm thick. The is only marginally thicker at and even that incorporates a interlayer that helps 3.5kg over the 12C’s windscreen (since when was thick?).

The thin carbon fibre that form the seats are with high-density foam and are no carpets in the P1 either. Even the of a resin lacquer on the exposed carbon fibre saves as well as looking absolutely 1.5kg, if you’re counting.

For the story download our latest due out later this month.

McLaren P1  Electric Cars
McLaren P1  Electric Cars
McLaren P1  Electric Cars
McLaren P1  Electric Cars
McLaren P1  Electric Cars
McLaren P1  Electric Cars

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