Lamborghini, in collaboration with two laboratories of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is looking at the possibility of a future model which will be electrically powered. Yes, even the maker of super sportscars has to be realistic about the changes that will surely come about; as it is, some governments are already talking about banning cars with internal combustion engines at some point in the future so carmakers can start making preparations for a new era of motorisation.

One concept it has come up with has the name of Terzo Millennio and this concept physically imagines design and technology theories of tomorrow, while sustaining the visual intrigue, breath-taking performance and, most importantly, the visceral emotion found in every dimension of a Lamborghini. Most importantly, it has to be made for future super sportscar enthusiasts.

The technological goal of the project is to enable Lamborghini to address the future of the super sportscar in five different dimensions: energy storage systems, innovative materials, propulsion system, visionary design, and emotion.

“In 2016, we signed an agreement with the MIT-Italy Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology which marked the start of a collaboration between two outstanding entities for the creation of a project that intends to write an important page in the future of super sportscars for the third millennium,” said Stefano Domenicali, Chairman &CEO of Automobili Lamborghini, and also former team principal of the Ferrari F1 team.

“Collaborating with MIT for our R&D department is an exceptional opportunity to do what Lamborghini has always been very good at: rewriting the rules on super sportscars. We are inspired by embracing what is impossible today to craft the realities of tomorrow: Lamborghini must always create the dreams of the next generation,” he said.

Electric systems generate high efficiency and offer several interesting characteristics like the possibility to recover kinetic energy and to deliver huge peaks of power. In order to take the most from the opportunities offered by electrification, the accumulation system must be power-oriented and symmetrical, to allow high performances and the greatest energy recovery possible. To harvest this opportunity, today’s batteries are not enough and a big leap forward is needed. Lamborghini’s aim is to develop an innovative supercapacitor able to close the gap with conventional batteries in terms of energy density, preserving an outstanding power density.

Besides the all-important reduction of weight, the strategy will be to increase the availability of electric energy using structural electric energy storing composites as a rechargeable battery. The target is to improve the nanomaterial technology, diffusing nano-charges in CFK-based panels able to store electric energy and in the meantime to form the body and structures of the car.

At the same time, the project aims to combine the technology to monitor continuously the whole carbonfibre structure, both visible and invisible, with the concept of health-monitoring. The goal is to enable the Terzo Millennio to be able to conduct its own health-monitoring, to detect cracks and damages that might occur after accident, throughout its sub-structure, while limiting or reducing to zero the risks correlated to the presence and propagation of cracks in the carbonfibre structure.

One of the most interesting advantages of every electric powertrain is to feed with energy a system made of several electric machines, just through wires. Lamborghini aims to use this opportunity to generate torque directly into the wheels, thus leaving the body of the car free to be shaped by the needs of design and aerodynamics. Understanding that the sound from today’s V12 engine is very much part of the appeal of a supercar, Lamborghini will look for a way to generate that sound with an electric powertrain.

The challenge to be faced here is to develop a technology suitable to increase the power density of the in–wheel electric motor to the level a 4WD super sportscar deserves, keeping the weight of the unsuspended masses under control. The opportunities in terms of weight, aerodynamics and design are so huge that it worth investigating for feasibility of further development.

The Terzo Millennio is being displayed at various shows around the world and was recently a highlight at the Festival Automobile International in Paris. It’s a pure concept car but one which could well be an influence for a future model which, like today’s Lamborghinis, will have a pricetag with a lot of zeros.

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[Chips Yap]

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