Lamborghini hybrid models will combine powerful electric motors and batteries with traditional internal combustion engines.
Lamborghini’s target customers – those who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on cars that go fast but also look and sound fast – have shown they would accept this type of technology, Winkelmann said. Plug-in hybrids retain the feel and sound of an internal combustion engine when driven aggressively while still allowing the car to run at purely electric times.
“Hybridization is very well accepted and fully electric cars, in terms of super sports cars, are not,” said Winkelmann. “And this is something i have also experienced and seen when i look other companies. “
Lamborghini’s Italian competitor Ferrari is already offering a plug-in hybrid model and Britain’s McLaren has one soon. There are a few all-electric supercars with extremely limited availability, like the Rimac Concept One and the Pininfarina Battista, but these are from startups rather than traditional powerhouses.
“If we look at the challenges of tomorrow, the biggest one, in our opinion, is that of CO2 emissions, and the goal of reducing them for us is even harder and harder because we are a super sports car company, ”said Winkelmann. And we also have to face the fact that it’s not just about reducing, but also about maintaining performance. ”
Lamborghini executives have spoken in the past about the challenge of creating a Lamborghini Aventador style supercar that runs only on batteries. A major problem is that today’s batteries simply cannot squeeze enough power into a small enough space.
In order to have high power and high acceleration while still being able to travel hundreds of kilometers before recharging, a car will need to carry a lot of batteries. If you want a small, light, low-to-the-ground car – characteristics of a sports car – it will quickly run out of power, especially if the driver slams the gas pedal.
Lamborghini is in the early stages of developing a fully electric car, but it will be a four-seater, not a two-seater, sports car, Winkelmann said. Beyond that, few other decisions regarding the Italian manufacturer’s first electric car have been made. Even the number of doors – two or four – is still undecided.
This electric car could share engineering with the Porsche Taycan and the Audi E-Tron GT. Both are high-performance, four-door electric cars manufactured by companies affiliated with Lamborghini. (Like Lamborghini, Porsche and Audi are part of the Volkswagen Group (Or Lamborghini could develop the electric car entirely on its own, Winkelmann said. )
“In the end, you have to change everything, [but not] change anything, ”said Winkelmann. To stay as we are. This is the main challenge today. ”
Porsche executives have said the same when explaining why the brand has not announced any plans to offer an electric sports car. The next Porsche EV will be a small SUV similar to the Porsche Macan.
As an alternative to electric cars, Porsche is working with several energy companies to create carbon neutral fuels that can be burned in internal combustion engines without increasing the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Lamborghini is also studying the use of these so-called electronic fuels, Winkelmann said.
Lamborghini has produced concept cars and limited production models over the years that suggest possible directions the Italian brand could take. On the one hand, Lamborghini worked with scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on special supercapacitors which can store and retain a lot of energy in less space and with less weight than batteries. They can also absorb and release energy faster than batteries. The Lamborghini Terzo Millennio concept car, unveiled in 2017, showed what an electric supercar with this technology could look like.
The Lamborghini Sián, a limited production model unveiled in 2019, is a hybrid. It does not have a charging port, but uses the extra energy of the car’s gasoline engine stored in a supercapacitor to provide additional power when accelerating and during gear changes.
The Volkswagen Group is also a major investor in QuantumScape, a company that develops solid-state batteries. This type of battery can hold more energy in a smaller space than today’s lithium-ion electric car batteries, which are made with liquid chemicals. They could, potentially, help overcome the size and weight challenges of a high performance sports car.
Jagdeep Singh, chief executive of QuantumScape, said his company has spoken to “supercar type gamers,” but he would not name any companies. Lamborghini executives declined to comment on potential battery technologies.