The electric bug has finally bitten the raging bull with Lamborghini unveiling its first all-electric sports car to the world.
The Terzo Millennio concept is the hint of the future for the Italian sports car maker which has rarely shied away from showcasing its big V10 and V12 petrol power plants across its line-up. The new electric car made its debut in Lamborghini’s Italian hometown of Sant’Agata Bolognese whilst simultaneously being unveiled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to highlight the development partnership between Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
For now the project is in its most elementary stages with resources being pooled into a three year research program into supercapacitors which can simultaneously capture and release energy as well as energy-storing carbon fibre nanotubes which could one day replace the heavier lithium-ion batteries powering today’s electric cars.
“The new Lamborghini collaboration allows us to be ambitious and think outside the box in designing new materials that answer energy storage challenges for the demands of an electric sport vehicle.”
It might all sound like fantasy, but Lamborghini is stepping into its electric shoes with a very open mind, claiming that the break through solution to making a lightweight electric sports car could be down to the development of body panels which double as energy storage panels, thus skipping batteries altogether.
“The new Lamborghini collaboration allows us to be ambitious and think outside the box in designing new materials that answer energy storage challenges for the demands of an electric sport vehicle,” MIT chemistry Professor Mircea Dinca said in a statement.
MIT aren’t being modest about their materials development program either. Professors from the institute and Lamborghini want to find a carbon fibre structure which can “self-heal” small cracks in its substructure. This is presumably achieved with the use of liquid-filled micro channels in its body construction which can detect opened channels before releasing a bonding agent in order to repair a damaged body part’s integrity – yes, like Wolverine.
On the driving front, the Lamborghini Terzo Millennio will follow suit with car makers like Tesla, having all four wheels powered by independent electric motors to retain Lamborghini’s all-wheel-drive hallmark in its future electric cars.
Don’t be holding your breath for an all electric sports car like the Porsche just yet though. At this year’s Geneva Motor Show, Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali told journalists that the company’s electric future may still be a while away.
“Electrification is an area of great attention for us, but I‘m not expecting it will happen in the short term,” Domenicali said in a Reuters report. He also stressed that there’d be no full-electric Lamborghini sports car before 2025. A hybrid with a ‘W’ or ‘V’ engine designation however is much more likely, according to Maurizio Reggiani, the company’s director of R&D.
“It will be a big task,” he told reporters at the Terzo Millennio launch. “But we live for this.”