Terzo Millennio: Lamborghini and MIT's Self-Healing Car
WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE
Technology is currently advancing at the fastest rate ever seen in the history of mankind. Advances that had never been dreamed of let alone fulfilled have come and gone; every new challenge that arises invites even greater determination to conquer it as soon as possible.
Automobiles have always been at the forefront of advances in technology. The mass appeal of cars makes it in the manufacturers’ interests to stay technologically competitive and thus desirable. Fail to innovate and you run the risk of becoming irrelevant and fading away, as so many have.
A PERCULIAR PARTNERSHIP
If you were to name a place in the world synonymous with the research and development of new technology; a place where the boundaries of what’s possible are always being pushed in a multitude of fields, there’s a very good chance the place you’ll mention is the world famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). As did Lamborghini it seems.
Lamborghini themselves are no strangers to innovation either, having done much to research carbon fibre composite structures for use within its automobiles, and could never be accused of shying away from a challenge.
When you put these two names together it generates a bit of excitement among those who know Lamborghini’s character and what MIT is capable of. The potential is almost scary, and they haven’t let us down with their concept car.
The Terzo Millennio, or 3rd millennium, is a super sports car designed to ensure Lamborghini’s future by allowing MIT to do what they do best – make breakthroughs in science and engineering. Lamborghini want to stay relevant through the revolution that’s looming on the horizon of car manufacturing and beyond - and this car is a glimpse of how they propose to do it
The growing momentum shift towards electric cars represents a significant problem for them when attempting to mesh the principles behind EVs with Lamborghini’s design philosophy. For the Bull, a car is measured in cylinders, noise and head turning looks - and this is not what electric vehicles are about. EVs are for the masses, Lamborghinis are for the individual.
This is why they have teamed up with MIT to explore the potential of electric vehicle associated technology and how they can incorporate it into their own vehicles without losing their identity – and some of the innovative materials and technology they have dreamed up is astounding.
YEAR 3000 TECH
The tag of a self-healing car wasn’t frivolous; this car can actually repair damage it has suffered to its carbon fibre components – which it is largely made of as are most super and hyper cars. By embedding nanotubes within the carbon fibre, they are able to channel resin to where any damage or weaknesses has occurred and prevent cracks from propagating, akin to human blood vessels.
Perhaps even more relevant is the work they are doing to develop a new way to store and dispense energy by replacing batteries with supercapacitors. Supercapacitors already exist but are very limited in their application. They aim to spend three years developing them into something far superior, capable of simultaneously capturing and discharging energy, and at much higher rates – providing the speed and acceleration Lamborghini desires.
They have also mentioned using the carbon fibre body panels to somehow store energy, but haven’t yet explained how they plan to achieve it (we're guessing Graphene may be involved). Needless to say, if this is possible it would be very impressive and open up all kinds of possibilities.
The impressive glow emanating from within the wheels isn’t coming from over-zealous braking, it’s actually where the electric motors are mounted – one on each wheel. This is particularly significant, and quite a departure for Lamborghini, as it says they are leaving the internal combustion engine behind at some point in the near future.
As anathema as it is to them, they have realised this change out of necessity can still allow them to indulge their own particular brand of design even further. With no bulky engine, no drivetrain and no exhaust getting in their way, they are free to come up with even more extreme designs, with the Terzo Millenio showcasing what they can do.
The cab is an expanse of glass cascading down towards the nose, riding so low the front wheel arches act as blinkers. These arches appear almost as if detached from the body of the car, like the floating shoulders of a big cat, allowing it hug the ground impossibly low while still pushing forwards. The side air scoops have been enlarged to a near impossible size, and with no axle or exhaust, extend clean through and out the back of the car. Those signature glowing wheels demand your attention as it drives.
It certainly turns heads, and that is exactly what Ferruccio Lamborghini would have wanted.
Yes, other compromises have been made, and not all of the problems have yet found a solution - replicating the noise and feeling of gunning a V12 engine with an electric motor is not a simple fix – but at least Lamborghini have taken the first steps towards resolving them.