Plonked in the Stata Center courtyard at the MIT campus is what looks like a visitor from the future. The Terzo Millenio, which literally means "third millennium" is a concept car that aims to be self healing and all electric. The technologies might sound futuristic, but are actually within the reach of current technological developments. The vehicle is the result of a collaboration between MIT and Lamborghini.
The car maker is relying on the technical institution to ensure that its future lineup of cars can be all electric, while still providing the superior performance Lamborghini vehicles are known for. The partnership began in October 2016, with Lamborghini bagging exclusive rights to emerging research related to material science and battery storage. The collaboration is aiming to develop an innovative supercapacitor to address a gap in the energy density possible with conventional batteries. The electric system has been engineered to recover kinetic energy and deliver substantial peaks of power.
One of the ways Lamborghini is exploring to improve the storage capacity of the vehicle is to integrate the energy storing capacity with the structure of the vehicle itself. Another aim for the carbon fiber structure is to put in place a health monitoring system is to detect cracks and damages, and contain the spread of these cracks and damages. The project also aims to re-imagine the powertrain and architecture of the vehicle, by integrating the electric motors with the wheels themselves. Lamborghini wants to take advantage of the fact that electric systems can generate torque directly in the wheels. This approach allows freedom for the body to be imagined and designed purely according to aerodynamic requirements.
Another area that Lamborghini is investigating is getting a car that sounds good, with a suitable substitute for the V12 engine. "In addition to the energy storage systems and the innovative materials for the vehicle’s body, Lamborghini also aims to address the future of the super sports cars in the powertrain and vehicle architecture, in the sound and emotion, while sustaining the visual appeal and the breathtaking performance," Lamborghini said in a statement. The concept opens up the possibility of a Lamborghini electric sports car in the future.
MIT associate professor of chemistry Mircea Dinca, who is working on the energy aspects of the vehicle says, "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."