Last week at the EmTech MIT conference, Lamborghini unveiled a prototype of the Terzo Millennio – a concept for a future electric supercar. The reveal came about a year after Lamborghini and MIT announced their collaboration on a new generation of sports cars.
The technological goal of the Terzo Millennio project is to enable Lamborghini to approach the future of the super sports car in five different dimensions: energy storage systems, innovative materials, propulsion system, visionary design and emotion. Anastasios John Hart, professor of engineering at MIT, is leading the materials science portion of the collaboration. Hart and Lamborghini are working on the development of a new carbon fiber shell for the Terzo Millennio that will be able to store electrical energy. These body panels will use carbon nanotubes storing electricity sandwiched between two carbon fiber laminates.
“To support this revolution in energy storage systems, materials and their functions must also change,” Lamborghini said. “Lamborghini aims to further develop its leadership in the design and production of carbon fiber structures and parts, improving its ability to develop features and functions that take lightweight materials to the next level. “
The project also aims to combine the technology to continuously monitor the entire carbon fiber structure, both visible and invisible, with the concept of “self-healing”. The purpose of the self-healing technology is to give the Terzo Millennio the ability to perform its own health monitoring to detect cracks and damage in its substructure after crashes. If the car detects damage to the carbon fiber, micro-channels can generate heat to seal cracks and mitigate the risk of further damage. Lamborghini says this technology will allow carbon fiber to be used more widely throughout the car to reduce vehicle weight.
The Terzo Millennio’s monocoque will be made with Lamborghini’s Forged Composite technology, in which shredded carbon fiber threads are combined with resin and sandwiched between two steel molds. The composite is then heated and placed under a pressure of 1200 to 1500 psi. Three minutes later, the component is ready. The process dramatically reduces the time it typically takes to cook resin-separated layers of carbon fiber fabric in an autoclave and also dramatically lowers production costs.
“The new Lamborghini collaboration allows us to be ambitious and think outside the box by designing new materials that meet the challenges of energy storage for the demands of an electric sports vehicle,” said Stefano Domenicali, president and CEO of Lamborghini. “We are looking forward to teaming up with [MIT’s] engineers and work on this exciting project.