Lamborghini last week for MIT's EmTech conference. Now it's here, and it's crazier than the teaser let on.
The Lamborghini Terzo Millennio concept is the result of, wherein the two parties are digging into materials research and other automotive-related areas. The whole point is to envision a supercar not from the next generation, but the generation after that. It focuses on five distinct areas -- energy storage, materials, propulsion, design and emotion.
In terms of propulsion, it packs four electric motors, one in each wheel, which permits more freedom in design by hiding all the motor-related stuff in the wheel wells.
As for energy storage, Lamborghini moved away from standard batteries and instead focused on supercapacitors, which can accept and deliver charge faster than batteries can, while withstanding numerous charge cycles and featuring storage capacities much higher than standard capacitors. Lamborghini currently uses supercapacitors to power the stop-start system of the Aventador.
Speaking of holding charges, the materials used in the Terzo Millennio do more than keep the car rigid. Lamborghini and MIT are researching using the car's carbon fiber body as an energy storage medium, turning the whole body into a battery of sorts.
That technology can also be used to monitor the car's carbon fiber structure. If small cracks develop -- say, from a collision -- the charge may move through the body differently, which can kick-start a "self-repairing" process in order to prevent the cracks from growing.
As for design, well, it's a Lamborghini, and it largely looks like one. The company's traditional design language is here, in the form of some sharp angles on all sides. However, with the removal of a traditional drivetrain, the cabin is pushed forward a great deal. Air channels are everywhere to help keep the car as planted as possible.
When it comes to emotion, don't expect some sort of soulless autonomous machine here. The Terzo Millennio does have some automation, but it's shown off as something to help the owner become a better driver. It could be capable, however theoretically, of taking a driver around a track to display the best driving line, so that drivers can enhance their own abilities without an actual coach sitting shotgun. It treats autonomy as a means to an end, rather than the end itself.