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