The company is nonetheless pushing forward with its prototype development program until the technology inevitably catches up.
McLaren has divulged a few interesting details of its all-electric supercar program.
The flagship P1 can already operate on battery power alone, cruising nearly silently for an EPA-rated 19 miles before its 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 roars to life.
The company cautions that building an all-electric supercar is not as simple as merely deleting the gasoline engine and scaling up the battery size. Engineers have been working on a development mule to explore the latest technologies, however the prototype does not yet achieve an acceptable balance of performance and range.
"Let's say you want to drive on track for half an hour, if that was an EV, that car would have over 500 miles of [normal driving] range, and it would be flat as a pancake at the end," McLaren's engineering design director, Dan Parry-Williams, told Autocar.
The kilowatt-hour unit does not directly indicate how fast or deeply a battery can be discharged without overheating or causing unacceptable capacity degradation after each charge cycle. Different battery designs typically have tradeoffs in terms of energy density, maximum instantaneous power delivery and long-term durability.
The British marque appears confident that battery technology will inevitably catch up, albeit at a slower pace due to the current focus on energy density rather than power density.