Terzo Mil­len­nio

It’s a self-heal­ing Lambo made by MIT geeks.

Top Gear (Philippines) - - Con­tents -

The hum­ble mo­tor car and its place in our so­ci­ety has been hav­ing a bit of an iden­tity cri­sis of late. Elec­tric and hy­brid cars—and our in­evitable march to­wards robo­tized, self­driv­ing boredom—dom­i­nate the land­scape. Some­times, it can get a bit de­press­ing.

Step for­ward Lam­borgh­ini, who clearly got this world­wide memo for sus­tain­able mo­tor­ing and im­me­di­ately hit ‘delete.’ For this new con­cept car, dubbed the Lam­borgh­ini Terzo Mil­len­nio, is quite sim­ply nuts. The best kind of nuts, mind you. The press re­lease states that “the tech­no­log­i­cal goal of the project is to en­able Lam­borgh­ini to ad­dress the fu­ture of the su­per sports car in five dif­fer­ent di­men­sions: en­ergy stor­age sys­tems, in­no­va­tive ma­te­ri­als, propul­sion sys­tem, vi­sion­ary de­sign, and emo­tion”. It’s cer­tainly got the lat­ter nailed— we’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing up­set­ting lev­els of want here in the TG of­fice.

Some con­text. A year ago, Lam­borgh­ini teamed up with the vaunted Mas­sachusetts In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy (MIT) to build some­thing that would “re­write the rules on su­per sports cars” for the third mil­len­nium (that’s the ‘Terzo Mil­len­nio’ bit).

A car that fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of post fos­sil-fuel apex-en­thu­si­asts could stick a poster of on their bed­room walls. Job done, we sus­pect.

The Mil­len­nio’s real mold-break­ing fea­ture is its in­ten­tion to do away with nor­mal bat­ter­ies; MIT is in­stead look­ing into the use of su­per­ca­pac­i­tors for power (see over­leaf for at­tempted ex­pla­na­tion).

The next step is to de­velop a pack able to give lots of peak power, re­gen­er­ate, and have limited degra­da­tion over the car’s life­time. The tie-in with MIT aims to “over­come the lim­its of to­day’s tech­nol­ogy and close the gap on con­ven­tional bat­ter­ies’ en­ergy den­sity.” Some talk of ‘think­ing out­side the box’ has been de­ployed.

What­ever form this power comes from, it’ll be al­lied to a 4WD, four-mo­tor set-up, with a

mo­tor in each wheel. This, says Lam­borgh­ini, al­lows for lots of torque and mov­ing en­ergy by wire. Not only that, but putting mo­tors in wheels means “free­dom for de­sign­ers and aero­dy­nam­i­cists”, and in­fi­nite torque-vec­tor­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties.

Ah yes, de­sign and aero. You’ll have no­ticed that the Mil­len­nio looks oth­er­worldly, ex­actly as a fu­ture grand­child of the Aven­ta­dor should. Pay par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to the “Y-sig­na­ture in the front and rear lights,” says Lam­borgh­ini— a fea­ture that’s likely to pop up in its next-gen su­per­cars.

The whole thing is based on a mono­coque us­ing Lambo’s forged com­pos­ite tech, solely honed for aero. The body too will ben­e­fit from Lam­borgh­ini’s in­creas­ing ex­per­tise in car­bon­fiber struc­tures (which means a lighter curb­weight). The plan is for this car­bon body to also—some­how—act as an ac­cu­mu­la­tor for en­ergy stor­age. Maybe don’t touch it while it’s fully charged… More­over—and here’s a very, very neat party trick—Lam­borgh­ini and MIT want the Mil­len­nio to self-heal. That is, to au­to­mat­i­cally de­tect cracks and dam­ages in the car­bon struc­ture and re­pair them via mi­crochan­nels in the body­work filled with ‘heal­ing chemistries.’ It’s prac­ti­cally Wolver­ine.

The fi­nal party trick? To drive it­self. Not on a high­way slog (though it’ll do that too), but rather on a hot lap of say, Imola, to show the squidgy hu­man driver the cor­rect lines and corner en­try/ exit speeds. Then, when you set off, you’ll fol­low a ‘ghost’ car—just like in any driv­ing game you care to men­tion—to see if you can match it. “We are in­spired by em­brac­ing what is im­pos­si­ble to­day to craft the re­al­i­ties of to­mor­row,” Lam­borgh­ini boss Ste­fano Domeni­cali ex­plains. “Lam­borgh­ini must al­ways cre­ate the dreams of the next gen­er­a­tion.”

Is this what you’re dream­ing of ? Should Lam­borgh­ini re­ally be wor­ry­ing about self­driv­ing elec­tric trans­port? Damned if we know, but it’s nice to know Lambo still in­tends to put the ‘su­per’ in supercar, even af­ter the V12s are gone.

No word on the interior yet, other than “driver’s and co-driver’s seats in­spired by race­cars.” Trans­la­tion: make sure your chi­ro­prac­tor is on speed dial

Fair to say the fo­cus here was on su­per­ca­pac­i­tors, not speed­bumps

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