The next super sports car is being built as we speak, not in a manufacturing plant, but in a lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Arguably the greatest university in the world in the fields of engineering and tech, MIT is collaborating with Lamborghini on a new electric design concept: Lamborghini of the Terzo Millennio. As the name suggests, it seems this sports car may catapult us into the third millennium of smart (we mean really smart) automobiles.
“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,” says the luxury Italian automaker.
And sure, in the past we’ve been able to buy electric Lambos in the form of remote control toys, but this all-electric (life-size) dagger of a sports car won’t even have a battery under the hood. Instead, it’ll be a supercapacitor that symmetrically releases and harvests electric power, keeping the power-source seemingly ageless, or at least with a very, very long lifecycle. MIT professor Mircea Dinca is the leading force behind this push to refine supercapacitor technology.
“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,” Dinca said in a release.
So where exactly do the “engines” live? Look down … further … a little more. Right there in the wheels. Each of the four wheels on the Terzo Millenio incorporate an integrated electric engine, capable of greater torque, reversibility, and the possibility of moving energy by wire.
If all goes according to plan, even the body of Terzo Millennio will contribute to its electric prowess. Lightweight carbon fiber will be used as both the body and parts, as Lamborghini engineers and professor John Hart believes this material will “act as an accumulator for energy storage and enable the complete body of the car to be used as a storage system.”
And if you can’t wrap your brain around that, the whole carbon fiber structure will be self-healing. By that, Lamborghini means the sports car will have the consciousness to conduct its own health monitoring in both visible and invisible areas, detecting any cracks or damages in the structure. Then, once identified, it will begin to self-repair via micro-channels filled with healing chemistries, reducing the risk of small cracks propagating further in the carbon fiber structure.
Breaking all convention in its technical abilities has worked to free space for an aesthetic design that is radical and supremely aerodynamic. The architecture is entirely new and 100-percent devoted to “perfecting airflow,” said Lamborghini. Even the driver and co-driver seats are inspired by race cars. (After all, Lamborghini already created the fastest SUV on the market.)
We won’t know for some time what the experience of getting behind the wheel of Terzo Millenio feels like, but we can imagine from its aerodynamics and lightweight material (plus the immersive sensation that has always come with driving Lamborghini) it will be utterly transcendental, smooth, and controlled — and fast as hell.
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