Energy & Power
Lamborghini’s Terzo Millennio “rewriting the rules on super sports cars”
By Anthony Capkun
March 6, 2018 – Automobili Lamborghini, in collaboration with two laboratories of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, recently marked the first steps of a possible future Lamborghini electric supercar: the Terzo Millennio.
“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 sports cars,” said Stefano Domenicali, chair and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini. “Now we are presenting an exciting and progressive concept car. 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.”
The “Third Millennium” concept, says Lamborghini, “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”.
The technological goal of the project is to enable Lamborghini to address the future of the supercar in five different dimensions: energy storage systems, innovative materials, propulsion system, visionary design and emotion.
The first two dimensions are conceived together with two MIT labs: the Dinca Research Lab led by prof. Mircea Dinca and the Mechanosynthesis Group led by prof. Anastasios John Hart. The collaboration is “substantially financed” by Automobili Lamborghini and intended to lead to radical innovation in energy storage systems technology and material science.
In the realm of energy storage, Lamborghini is investigating the feasibility of moving away from conventional batteries in favour of supercapacitors to power the Terzo Millennio. This is in line with the application of low-voltage supercapacitors in the V12 Aventador, which started five years ago, says the automaker. The next step is to develop a storage system able to deliver high peak power and regenerate kinetic energy with very limited influence from aging and cycling during the vehicle’s life, plus the ability to symmetrically release and harvest electric power.
Thus, the collaboration with Dinca aims to overcome the limits of today’s technology and close the gap on conventional batteries’ energy density while preserving the high power, symmetrical behaviour and the long life cycle related to supercapacitor technology.
“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,” said Dinca.
To support a revolution in energy storage, materials and their functions also have to change. Lamborghini aims to “further develop its leadership” in the design and production of carbon fiber structures and parts, enhancing its ability to develop features and functions “that take lightweight materials to the next level”.
Hence, the cooperation with prof. John Hart’s lab, which will investigate new manufacturing routes for carbon fiber materials that constitute the bodyshell of the Terzo Millennio, which will also act as an accumulator for energy storage and enable the complete body of the car to be used as a storage system.
Prof. Hart says, “We are thrilled to combine our expertise in advanced materials and manufacturing with the vision and support of Automobili Lamborghini, and to realize new concepts that will shape the future of transportation.”
The energy storage system goes hand-in hand with the wheels, too. Each incorporates an integrated electric engine, harvesting the opportunities provided by electric motors: high torque, reversibility and the possibility of moving energy by wire.
The Terzo Millennio therefore also embodies the first steps for Lamborghini to go in the direction of creating a “Lamborghini Electric”. Moving the electric motors into the wheels has another positive effect: freedom for designers and aerodynamicists.
“The responsiveness of the electric motors, the four-wheel torque control and the dynamic body control system will enhance the driver’s experience, projecting it into the third millennium,” says Automobili Lamborghini.