Lamborghini Discusses Its Post-Sián Roadster Electrification Plans
The Lamborghini Sián Roadster, like its hard-top predecessor, is the type of Lamborghini that the company describes as coming out of its “laboratory of the future” – experimenting with electrification techniques to understand how to move the business into its next era of performance. We know some of the great features of this plan, especially that the next Aventador will be a hybrid. But Lamborghini continues to leave clues to the details of his plans.
Why electrification? On the one hand, emission and noise regulations are forcing change. This is nothing new and should not surprise you. It is clear that Lamborghini would probably not electrify its cars if the regulations did not require it. But the company is making the most of the situation, working closely with MIT to optimize relevant technologies, and as shown by Sián, ensuring that electrification actually improves the vehicle itself, instead of simply allow it to comply with regulations. But battery-powered electric vehicles are a long way from the business, as technology just isn’t able to meet real-world performance goals without massive leaps in energy storage technology. In short, it is something to think about, like with the Terzo Millennio, but not to build anytime soon.
As Giovanni Perosino, Lamborghini Commercial Director, told us at a recent roundtable, the transition to electrically improved petrol engines may be less monumental for Lamborghini customers than it is for us, the treasures that stand in every detail. According to Perosino, the most important thing is “to have a clear brand objective” and to communicate that Lamborghini has a vision for the future, while trying out new and exciting technologies. As long as Lamborghini is riding this wave of innovation and exhilaration, the specifics – such as the sounds emitted by a Lamborghini – are less important.
Don’t think it means everything is on the table. Maurizio Reggiani, CTO of the brand, has made it clear in the past – and emphasized again in our discussion – that the V-12 is a central pillar of the Lamborghini mystique. When asked if the V-12 had a future, Reggiani made it clear that the number of cylinders is important to the brand’s customers. About the move, Reggiani dodged a bit. Reading between the lines, we can assume that Lamborghini prefers to reduce the size of the V-12 rather than lowering the number of cylinders in its high-end performance cars (if either is required).
What about the fascinating supercapacitor technology of Sián? It allows “symmetrical” charging and discharging functionality. In other words, you can pour energy into it and extract it at about the same rate, which no conventional hybrid battery does. Reggiani also likes this, because being small and light, the technology is also easy to pack in the car. It is clear from our conversation that the supercapacitor is not a single element reserved strictly for Sián. That said, Reggiani said that we would not see it find its place in the next replacement for the Aventador brand.
Instead, the next model will use conventional battery technology. It is a prudent decision because unlike the Sián, Aventador owners tend to use their cars frequently, putting significant mileage (for a hypercar) on central engine machines each year. By opting for the most conservative path of a conventional battery pack, the high-end model of Lamborghini produced in series (well, in terms of hypercar) will offer a wider electric operation. Simply put, a traditional battery pack helps the business better meet regulatory requirements than a low-capacity supercapacitor.
After all, the Sián supercapacitor can only store 0.18 kWh of electricity. It’s enough juice to moderate the characteristics of the car’s single-clutch automated transmission, uh, brutal shifting characteristics and improved acceleration, but not enough to provide the model with significant EV-only operation. But the next Aventador will adopt a dual-clutch gearbox, which will lessen the need to use all of that energy to smooth out gear changes.
Thinking about the next Aventador is exciting, but the Urus is a really important vehicle for Lamborghini here and now. It looks like we’ve heard about the company’s potential for a plug-in hybrid version of the crossover SUV for a long time, and Reggiani acknowledged that the company is still looking into it. It seems the Italian brand wants to make sure that the system really improves the driving experience of the Urus – it is not enough to reduce emissions and offer a range of electric vehicles only.
In addition, no brother of Urus is in the cards. This news joins the previous statements of the brand, Perosino stressing that it is against such a decision. If anything, the company would like to add another performance car to its line of models. We have heard statements like this before, and we view this as a general wish from the CCO rather than as confirmation that another line of Lamborghini models is in the works.
But one thing is clear: the future of Lamborghini is electrified. How Sant’Agata will achieve this transformation remains a bit of a mystery. However, we are slowly filling in the blanks.
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