A little over a year ago, Lamborghini announced that it was collaborating with students and professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on future car technologies. The first fruit of their collaboration has been revealed in concept form today, and boy, it’s something else. It’s an all-electric hypercar called the Terzo Millennio—Italian for “Third Millennium”—and it’s packed with all sorts of wild tech.
With the Terzo Millennio, Lamborghini is attempting to answer a seemingly simple question asked by the company’s chief technical officer, Marurizio Reggiani—”what is the super sports car of the future?” For Lamborghini, that means an electric car, but one unlike anything else we’ve ever seen.
Lamborghini wants an electric car that can run three or four laps of the Nurburgring Nordschleife in a row at full tilt, then completely recharge within a few minutes. And all the while, it has to provide the performance and emotional experience you expect from a Lamborghini.
Lamborghini’s collaboration with MIT is focused in two areas—energy-storage systems, and material science. The results are as crazy-futuristic as you’d expect from MIT professors and their PhD. students.
Prof. Mircea Dinca of MIT’s chemistry department, and his laboratory, the Dinca Research Lab, worked on the energy-storage system for the Terzo Millennio. Instead of conventional batteries, the Terzo Millenio uses supercapacitors, which can provide great power and recover and harvest kinetic energy at the same time. On top of that, supercapacitors don’t age as quickly batteries, making them ideal for car use.
As if that’s not radical enough, the Terzo Millennio’s carbon fiber structure can heal itself if there are any cracks or damages from an accident. If the car detects carbon-fiber damage, micro-channels generate heat to seal cracks and mitigate risk of any further damage. Lamborghini says this tech will allow carbon fiber to be used more extensively throughout the car, helping keep weight in check—especially with the usage of wheel-mounted electric motors.
In a press conference today, Reggiani cited supercapacitor technology as something that maybe we could see in the not-too-distant future, but the self-healing energy-harvesting carbon fiber body? That’s a way’s away.
Lamborghini wants to declare itself a technology leader—that’s partially why it inked a deal with MIT a year ago. With the Terzo Millennio, the company is casting its net wide, thinking far into the future about what its cars could be. It might not be something we see for decades, but that probably doesn’t matter.
We’re at MIT today to check out an exterior design model of the Terzo Millennio and to talk to the team behind it. Stay tuned for more on this fascinating car.