To celebrate the opening of the £50 million McLaren Production Centre (MPC) in Woking, the company is showcasing its MP4-12C high-performance sports car at SMMT alongside a display about the new facility. The MPC is now the home of McLaren Automotive, supporting up to 800 jobs and manufacturing around 4,000 vehicles by the middle of the decade.
Production at the new centre will see 300 jobs added to the existing 500 at McLaren Automotive. The 32,000-square metre MPC is located to the south-east of the existing McLaren Technology Centre (MTC) and the two buildings are connected by a subterranean walkway. The construction programme of the new manufacturing facility ensured a sensitive environmental development in fitting with the McLaren Group’s wider values.
The McLaren Production Centre
Throughout the planning process for the MPC, McLaren worked closely with a number of local groups, reassuring all concerned that the facility would make minimal visual and environmental impact on the local area, whilst economically and industrially supporting Woking as a world-leading centre of manufacturing innovation and technology.
The MPC reflects the strong environmental credentials of the MTC, McLaren’s award-winning Woking headquarters. Highlights of the MPC development and construction process included:
- Reviewing McLaren Automotive’s SLR manufacturing operations and processes. As a result, energy consumption within the MPC will be reduced for the 12C and future cars. For example, specialist ‘low-energy’ paints were selected for the 12C that can be cooled mainly through natural air-flow within the building.
- Completing a major re-contouring landscape project that has sensitively screened the MPC from visitors to the adjacent Horsell Common. The landscaping project excavated 180,000m3 of soil, but re-used all of it on site, massively reducing the transportation impact and the potential for the introduction of invasive plant species.
- Planting 820 new trees, and 68 existing mature trees that were transplanted in a local nursery before the bird-nesting season, to further screen the MPC and MTC and positively contribute to the local environment.
- An extensive landscaping programme that featured the planting and sowing of native shrubs and a grass seed mix in sympathy with Horsell Common species that will ensure the site is in keeping with its location.
- The purchase of the Heather Farm facility of industrial buildings and concrete hard-standing, adjacent to the Horsell Common Special Protection Area. McLaren has bequeathed ownership of the site to the Horsell Common Preservation Society.
- All local public footpaths being retained or enhanced for future access.
- Building on the use of lake water cooling at the MTC: the roof of the MPC will support this system, collecting rainwater to complement a low-energy system that utilises displacement ventilation.
The MP4-12C high-performance sports car
The development of the 12C placed a strong focus on the use of innovative technology as well as efficiency, which will be reflected in all of McLaren Automotive’s future models.
A key innovation in the design the 12C was the introduction of a one-piece carbon fibre chassis structure. The ‘MonoCell’ represents the first time that such a lightweight, safe and strong structure has been available on a series production car in its market segment. In recognition of this, the MonoCell was shortlisted for SMMT’s 2010 Award for Automotive Innovation.
“It’s very easy to chase performance figures,” said Mark Vinnels, McLaren Automotive’s Program Director. “The future will always be about efficiency. Increased performance will come with increased efficiency.”
Speaking specifically about mass reduction, Vinnels added, “Weight will always be the fundamental enemy of what we’re trying to achieve. Our focus will be on achieving the best lightweight solutions at the given price point.”
SMMT’s Award for Automotive Innovation returned in 2011, seeking excellence in UK automotive innovation across one of the world’s most diverse and dynamic industries. You can click here to find out more about this year’s shortlisted entries.
The UK is home to seven volume car manufacturers and more than 10 niche and specialist vehicle manufacturers. Click through to find out more about UK automotive manufacturing.
Click through the slideshow below to see all the photos from SMMT’s exhibition space:
Last month, the McLaren Group welcomed a group of local teachers and students to the McLaren Technology Centre for a rare, behind the scenes glimpse into life as a McLaren engineer.
The tour, organised as part of the government’s ‘See Inside Manufacturing‘ campaign, was aimed at encouraging young people to see engineering as an exciting and viable career choice, while also increasing awareness of the importance of a strong manufacturing base to the future of the UK economy.