Lambo Looks Two Generations Ahead

Lamborghini's latest concept is everything an Italian supercar should be: exotic looks, even more exotic materials, and a powertrain that is out of this world. For now, at least.

The Terzo Millennio concept is the fruit of a collaboration between Lamborghini and MIT. Yup, that MIT. The engineering school. The partnership is focused on energy storage and material science.

The name of the car means Third Millennium, and that's what the car is supposed to represent. Not the next-generation road-fighting bull, but the one after that.

Propulsion comes from four electric motors, one in each wheel. Not only does that allow for more power, but it adds design and aerodynamic freedom. No need to build bodywork that hides an engine and transmission.

For power storage, Lamborghini and MIT didn't look at batteries. They wanted supercapacitors instead. Supercapacitors can accept and deliver an electric charge far faster than batteries. They can handle more charge cycles and have much higher storage density than standard capacitors. Lambo already uses supercapacitors for the start-stop system in the Aventador.

Supercapacitors aren't ready for a production EV just yet, but when they are they will offer brutal performance. The MIT collaboration is looking at making supercapacitors as good as batteries. The company is also looking at carbon composite batteries and could combine the two technologies.

The styling is exactly the outrageous, futuristic look that defines modern Lamborghinis. With the forward-mounted cabin, this one might have a roofline that's almost sedate for the Italian automaker. But the rest of the details, with massive scoops, ducts, and scallops makes up for it.

The body and chassis are carbon fibre. But there's a difference. Lamborghini says that the high-tech carbon is an experimental new material. The whole body is an energy storage system. It can monitor the structure for cracks or weakness, and then move the charge through the carbon fibre in a way that will self-repair the chassis.

The only question remaining is the sound. How do you recreate the wail of a naturally aspirated V10 or V12? Lamborghini isn't sure either, saying that "deep investigation is needed" to figure that out.

The Terzo Millennio isn't intended to be a road car. Just to let us see how the brand is thinking. And we're liking what they're thinking.

And it looks good 11/6/2017 11:45:41 PM