Lamborghini Unveils a Self-Healing, Electric Supercar
The Terzo Millennio concept is what can happen when MIT gets in the car game.
The next generation of Lamborghinis could act as their own super-powered batteries and be able to repair themselves.
Automobili Lamborghini Spa unveiled its Terzo Millennio (βthird millenniumβ) concept car at the EmTech conference in Cambridge, Mass., on Monday. The car is the product of the first 12 months of a three-year partnership between the automaker and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
True to Lamborghini tradition, the car has a lean, windswept design and the brandβs trademark Y taillights. The windshield seems to extend from the top of the car almost to the driverβs toes, and the body crouches so low it almost looks like an outgrowth of the road.
But the most remarkable aspects of the car are invisibleβnot least because they donβt exist yet.
Lamborghini plans to develop supercapacitors that can provide the fast, intense energy needed to power a supercarβand could allow for all-electric models. The lithium-ion batteries in todayβs electric cars release energy more slowly and run down over repeated charges because they depend on chemical reactions. While supercapacitors store energy physically and donβt generate the heat of lithium-ions, as of yet they donβt offer as much power. The technology is currently used in hybrid vehicles for such limited functions as getting stopped engines going again.
βA lot of the innovation that came and made its way into consumer cars started with things like Formula 1 and supercars,β says Mircea Dinca, an associate professor of chemistry at MIT, whose lab is one of two working with the car maker. βI think that if Lamborghiniβand weβdeliver on this promise, it will be really cool for the future of all transportation.β
Lamborghini also intends to make the supercapacitors out of carbon-fiber panels that can be used to form the body of the car, so the Terzo Millennio draws energy from its own body. In other words: The car itself is the battery.
Moreover, the concept promises a car that will be able to continuously monitor the condition of its own structure, detecting wear and damage. Micro-channels containing βhealing chemistriesβ in the carbon-fiber body will automatically repair small cracks that would otherwise spread.
To topβor, more accurately, bottomβit all off, the company will develop in-wheel electric motors, which would eliminate the need for a single large engine.
βCollaborating with MIT for our R\u0026D department is an exceptional opportunity to do what Lamborghini has always been very good atβrewriting the rules on super sports cars,β says Stefano Domenicali, chairman and chief executive officer of Automobili Lamborghini.
Lamborghini got its start in the 1960s in Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy, when Ferruccio Lamborghini, a tractor maker who had become a wealthy industrialist, decided he wanted to top Ferrari. Today it is part of Volkswagen AG, and its cars start at around $200,000. There is neither price guidance nor a timeline on the Terzo Millennio; a production model wonβt be available for years, if ever. Still, affordability isnβt a concept we can see Lamborghini exploring.
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