Lamborghini is Skeptical About Battery-Powered Supercars
Lamborghini is considered one of the best supercar brands in the world, but don’t expect it to launch an all-electric supercar anytime soon. Lamborghini Chief Technical Officer Maurizio Reggiani doesn’t see that happening, in part because he thinks that all-electric supercars, or hypercars as we’ve come to know them, can’t match the pure performance abilities that supercars with traditional international combustion engines have.
The automotive world is constantly evolving as manufacturers continue to electrify their models. And, electrification isn’t something that’s taking place by your basic car manufacturers like Chevy, Nissan, Audi, or even Tesla. In the past few years, we’ve seen a number hybridized supercars and exotics like the Ferrari LaFerrari, Porsche 918 Spyder, McLaren P1, and Acura NSX make their way into our hearts, and now manufacturers are looking to go all-electric. Even the most reserved brands are looking into it, with the most recent rumor claiming that Lamborghini is building and electric supercar.
As it turns out, a new video from AutoBild claims that Lamborghini is, in fact, working on an all-electric monster that is being dubbed the Vitola. The report suggests that the car will use the J1 Architecture like the Porsche Mission E and will also use the same fast-charging system. According to the report, the car will be able to blast to 60 mph in about 2.5 seconds with top speed coming in at around 186 mph. Horsepower figures are about as much a mystery as the car itself, but with that kind of sprint time, expect it to pack more that then Lamborghini Aventador SV which comes correct with 740 horsepower and 509 pound-feet of torque. Those kinds of numbers in mind, and the added weight from an on-board battery leads us to believe that the car could produce upward of 900 horsepower.
Even with cars like the Rimac Concept One and the Quant F already being exposed to the world, there still aren’t any serious, production supercars out there that rely on nothing but battery power. The closest really, at this point, is the Tesla P100, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call that thing a supercar. Close, but no cigar. Then there’s the Porsche Mission E, which has apparently been approved for production, however, the timetable for it hitting the market is still up in the air. Word has it McLaren is working on an all-electric supercar as well, but we’re still waiting on confirmation for that as well.
Either way, an electric supercar would be pretty wild coming from a brand like Lamborghini. Known for its wild styling on models like the Centenario and the soul-rattling noise of every single engine it’s ever built, an all-electric car as some pretty big shoes to fill.
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Almost two weeks ago we showed you a rather interesting drag racing video where a Tesla Model S P85D simply walks away from a V-12-powered Ferrari 550/575M Maranello in a straight line. While that result was kind of expected even before hitting the play button, a new race featuring the same Tesla model and a V-12-powered Italian supercar has surfaced, and you are probably going to have a hard time believing what happened between the two.
First of all, the Tesla no longer battles a 13-plus-year-old Ferrari but a brand new Lamborghini Aventador LP-700 with only 44 miles on the clock. Second of all, the Tesla is no longer part of a test drive, but it is part of a young owner’s stable... as is the Aventador it raced against. To refresh your memory, the Aventador LP-700 is powered by a naturally aspirated, 6.5-liter, V-12 that develops no less than 691 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. Mated to a sequential transmission and an all-wheel-drive system, the Italian monster should hit 62 mph from a standing start in just 2.9 seconds, so it theory not even the Model S P85D should be a match from a dig.
The Tesla Model S P85D also comes with 691 horsepower but a gargantuan amount of torque delivered by two electric motors. Also with all-wheel drive, the electric car’s official numbers mention a 3.2-second run from naught to 60 mph, but in real life things may sit a little bit different. As seen in the above video, up until about 50 mph the Tesla actually pulls ahead of the Lambo and until 80 mph they are neck and neck, with the Aventador only getting ahead at higher speeds. Sure, we’re told that the Lamborghini isn’t using its Thrust Mode launch-control feature for this race, but the way that the Tesla completely obliterates it at lower speeds is pretty astounding.
The TopSpeed time machine has taken us ahead before to see what Porsche has in store, now that VW controls it. It has also taken us to an alternate reality, where we got to see just how the i8 could completely fall on its face. Well, now with McLaren confirming what we all suspected (that the V-12 is about to becomes extinct), we are going to fire the old time cruiser back up and see what the supercar world might have in store for us in 2020.
McLaren has already come out and said that the V-12
"belongs in a museum" and plans to downsize its engine lineup, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. You see, in 2014, the FIA is dropping its engine sizes to petite 1.5-liter V-6 plants with turbochargers and energy recovery systems. Six years after that changeover, fuel will likely be so expensive that the FIA may drop to a 4-cylinder regulation, which opens the door for supercars to borrow said technology.
This would mean no more V-12, V-10, V-8, or V-6 engines and just super-powerful 4-cylinders will remain. Pumping 500 to 600 ponies from a 4-pot is not an impossible task, but it requires very precise research and development. The smaller engines will also result in lower weight, more manageable weight ratios, and better handling. Lower weight, in turn, results in better fuel economy and quicker acceleration.
There will be some tradeoffs, as expected. No longer will we have these 200+ mph supercars. You will also have a much less comfortable drive than expected, as these 4-bangers will be much more high-strung and touchy, much like a race car.
The big picture is what matters in all of this. No longer will there be a hunkin’ V-12 engine chugging down a gallon of fuel every 8 to 11 miles. In 2020, we should see smaller 4-pots getting 16 to 18 mpg and still keeping up with their larger ancestors up to 100 mph, which is really all that matters. Ask yourself, “When was the last time I drove 200 mph in my Aventador?”
But what about electric? Click past the jump to read about electric-powered supercars in 2020.
Top Gear’s 17th season flew by just like that, didn’t it?
The sixth and final episode aired over the weekend, and unlike the past episodes, this one more than lived up to the expectations. Richard Hammond got the show off to a promising start with a great segment about the Lamborghini Aventador. From there, the show picked up some steam with a pretty hilarious segment featuring Jeremy Clarkson and James May as they embarked on an electric-car crusade around town. Some unforeseen circumstances resulted in a few mishaps, but all in all, the duo managed to make the most out of their respective cars - Clarkson had the Nissan Leaf while May had the Peugeot Ion - to finish their adventure in one piece. But even that wasn’t enough to convince the two about the potential of electric cars in the future.
Fittingly, the final segment of season 17 took a more serious turn with an inspiring story about a Cross Country racing team in Wales for disabled British soldiers. It’s a humbling way to end a very interesting season and puts into perspective what the human spirit is capable of accomplishing despite the challenges that seemingly lies in front of it.
Details after the jump.