Lamborghini and MIT team up on self-healing super car

Lamborghini is working with engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on a new all-electric self-healing supercar that won't have batteries.

Lamborghini announced the body of the Lamborghini Terzo Millennio, made from exotic carbon nanotubes, would store and release energy – image courtesy of Lamborghini

Lamborghini announced that the body of the new Terzo Millennio concept car, made from exotic carbon nanotubes, would be used as a supercapacitor, which stores and releases energy in a manner different from that employed by batteries.

The storage system is able to deliver high peak power and regenerate kinetic energy with very limited influence from aging and cycling during the vehicle’s life.

Lamborghini announced, the collaboration with the MIT is aiming to overcome the limits of today’s technology and close the gap on conventional batteries’ energy density while preserving the high power, symmetrical behavior and the very long lifecycle related to supercapacitor technology.

Prof. Mircea Dinca, Department of Chemistry at the MIT, said: “The new Lamborghini collaboration allows us to be ambitious and think outside the box in designing new materials that answer energy storage challenges for the demands of an electric sport vehicle. We look forward to teaming up with their engineers and work on this exciting project”.

Innovative materials

To support this revolution in energy storage systems, materials and their functions have to change, too. Lamborghini aims to further develop its leadership in the design and production of carbon fiber structures and parts, enhancing its ability to develop features and functions that take lightweight materials to the next level.

For this reason, the cooperation with Prof John Hart from the MTI’s, Department of Mechanical Engineering at the MTI, will investigate the new manufacturing routes for carbon fiber materials constituting the bodyshell of the Terzo Millennio, which will also act as an accumulator for energy storage and enable the complete body of the car to be used as a storage system.

Prof. Hart says: “We are thrilled to combine our expertise in advanced materials and manufacturing with the vision and support of Automobili Lamborghini, and to realize new concepts that will shape the future of transportation.”

The project also aims to combine the technology to continuously monitor the whole carbon fiber structure, both visible and invisible, with the concept of “self-healing”.

The target is to provide the Terzo Millennio with the ability to conduct its own health monitoring to detect cracks and damages in its substructure derived from accidents.

In this case a self-repairing process starts via micro-channels filled with healing chemistries, reducing to zero the risks of small cracks propagating further in the carbon fiber structure. This allows further weight reduction with increased use of carbon fiber or the application of CFK to high-fatigue parts.

Propulsion System

The energy storage system goes hand-in hand with performance.

Each wheel incorporates an integrated electric engine, perpetuating the commitment to four-wheel drive and in the meantime harvesting the opportunities provided by electric motors: high torque, reversibility, and the possibility of moving energy by wire.

The Terzo Millennio therefore also embodies the first steps for Lamborghini to go in the direction of creating a “Lamborghini Electric”. Moving the electric motors into the wheels has another positive effect: freedom for designers and aerodynamicists.