Yesterday, Lamborghini unveiled what it calls the Terzo Millennio, a concept car that aims to capture what the Italian company sees as the future of high-end sports cars.
The concept includes electric motors on each wheel, which would improve turning and handling. The low, sleek model has red glowing wheels, enormous windows and windshield, and Lamborghini’s signature design flourishes.
Although powered by four electric motors, one for each wheel but instead of a battery pack, which we get to see in all electric cars now-a-days, the motors get their power from a supercapacitator. Lamborghini believes supercapacitors are the answer to many of the limitations of current electric cars. Supercapacitors can charge and discharge faster, and store more energy in a given footprint, according to the carmaker.
If you think the Lamborghini Terzo Millenio looks stunning, there’s a lot of research that has been done to bring out the desired result. In fact, one area where Lamborghini and MIT have put their heads together is the use of carbon fiber body panels as an energy-storage medium, essentially turning the bodywork into a battery. The material can also detect small cracks and “heal” itself, preventing the cracks from expanding and causing an outright breakage.
Unveiled as part of MIT’s EmTech conference, it’s Lamborghini’s first all-electric concept car, giving the Italian Supercar maker exclusive rights to burgeoning research into battery storage and materials science.
The research, which is still being developed, could be used to make cars lighter and make batteries out of carbon nanotubes. The batteries can be made in any shape, and could be designed to fit inside the car’s side panels.
Those batteries, combined with fast recharging technology and a car body made from lighter materials, would help provide the kind of performance necessary for an electric Lamborghini car, the company said.
“We need to define what can change the perception of the super sport car, and these two are the most important for us,” said Maurizio Reggiani, Lamborghini’s chief engineer.
Lamborghini might be open to moving to electric powertrains but they have previously stated autonomous cars is something that it does not believe in, yet the Terzo Millenio comes with a semi-autonomous set up. According to Lamborghini, the Terzo Millenio can coach its owner into being a better driver by demonstrating the best line around a track. It would be just like going for a familiarization lap with an instructor, but without the instructor.
While Lamborghini is preparing for an electric sports car future, the company doesn’t plan to develop a fully autonomous car. “Lamborghini is not the brand to answer autonomous driving,” said Mitja Borkert, Lamborghini’s director of design.
Executives said self-driving cars run counter to the entire premise of getting behind the wheel of a super sports car.
“Our customers buy Lamborghini because they want to drive a Lamborghini,” Reggiani said. “That’s the difference between man and machine. A machine doesn’t have any kind of soul.”