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There will be no Lamborghini hybrid hypercar to take on the likes of the Porsche 918 Spyder, McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari, according to the brand’s global chief.

Speaking to CarAdvice in his only interview with Australian media at the 2014 Geneva motor show, Automobili Lamborghini president and CEO Stefan Winkelmann panned the idea of an ultra-niche petrol-electric flagship model to take on the current crop of battery-backed billionaires’ toys.

“What you see now – and I don’t want to be, let’s say, finger pointing – but what you see now in the world of the hybrids is not something which is going to be in normal production cars; due to cost, or due to weight if the cost is a normal one,” Winkelmann said.

“And therefore, I don’t know, if you think this is positioning for the future, it might be okay. But the future will be different to the cars you see today,” he said.

Porsche 918 Weissach Package - 2

Winkelmann suggested the likes of the Porsche 918 Spyder (above), McLaren P1 (below) and Ferrari LaFerrari hybrid flagship models are ways for those brands to show what is possible for them – but Lamborghini will not follow suit.

“There is no super luxury manufacturer today who is going to have a hybrid car which is a performance car, to a normal price. This is not feasible at this time. Or you have heavy batteries, and then you are a sitting duck. Or you don’t have heavy batteries but then you’re not hybrid,” he said.

“This game is not, let’s say, fulfillable at the time being. And therefore I’m saying as long as it’s possible – in terms of technology – we’ll keep the DNA,” he said of the brand’s choice to retain only naturally aspirated engines.

“And the moment you really need it, then you have to deliver something that is acceptable in both senses, you know?”

mclaren-p1-1

Winkelmann said the three aforementioned hypercars – all of which cost more than one million euro ($1.52m) cannot be sustained for the longer term, and like any car made by those brands, they are heavily marketed upon their exclusivity.

“There is no market which is a constant one million euro,” he said. “I made this experience myself more than one time, so I know what I’m talking about.

“So if [high-performance hybrid cars] is something, then it needs more time. It needs more time.

“As I said, it will be coming step by step – the biggest issue now is the development of the capacity of the batteries, but capacity is equal to weight,” he said.

Being part of the Volkswagen Group of companies, Lamborghini could potentially share development costs with other Group brands, and it is already tightly associated with Audi. Indeed, the next-generation R8 and the new Huracan will share the same lightweight carbonfibre-infused chassis (see below).

Lamborghini-Huracan-LP610-4-Chassis-e1393685188761

This, logically, could lead to technology sharing for hybrid Lamborghini and Audi models. But Winkelmann said the barriers to offering any such model is based purely on the level at which the technology currently stands.

“In the Group, there is the access,” he said of potential sharing plans. “But even the technology outside the group is not possible to achieve – so if I just wanted to put a flag to say ‘this is what we did’, we would have done it,” he said.

“We want to think about what the future is going to look like, and maybe even then we are doing something,” he said.

Winkelmann suggested that future performance will need to be spawned from cars losing weight, not gaining it through heavy battery systems.

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento - Side

“We did the Sesto Elemento, no?” he said. “Showing what the power to weight ratio is able to do with a normal engine, without changing it, but just working on material – this is the type of exercise, when it comes down to the next level, that we have to continue to do.

“But still, the weight you are adding today is more than the weight you can get out, unless the batteries are really something different,” he said.

“And it might be that some years down the road, this is already the case. We’ll see.

“But we are constantly looking into this: naturally aspirated, turbo, turbo plus hybrid, turbo plus plug-in hybrid, or even electric. But electric, for me, the timing is not something the customer really is expecting even in a decade from now.”




  • Kelvin

    Those Lambos are obscenely good looking.

  • Smart US

    Lambo and other sport brands have the luxury to not bother about luggage space…

  • JOEBEEZ

    So in other words: You won’t be making a car which can compete with the rest of the supercar builders.

    • guest

      Quite true. The P1 McLaren and the 918 are hardly sitting ducks as far as performance goes. The P1 is as far as I’m aware still lighter than Aventador, but it’s obviously not a fair comparison as they are in different price and performance worlds. Aventador is the modern day Countach while P1 is the modern day F1, even if it doesn’t have 3 seats.

      Both are great cars, but they are aimed at different markets and designed to do different things. P1 is the ultimate drivers car.

    • Phil

      Yeah, it is pretty funny. Bit like criticising an adult movie actor for being more well endowed than yourself. But he has a point, the cost of the hypercars puts them out of economic reality for a maker like Lamborghini. At the end of the day, is it about running a business or just the bragging rights? I think they can trade on the heritage and the style without needing to go chasing numbers only a handful of the world’s best drivers have the talent to exploit.

  • George Gallan

    Throwing in a towel ey Mr Winkelmann.

    • ChaosMaster

      Hardly. The way I see it is that Lambo is taking a different direct. The Sesto Elemento is clear evidence of that. Around a tight track, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sesto could keep up with the P1 and 918, and that was based on the old Gallardo. Now imagine one based off the Adventador.

      • qwertyuiop

        You sir are too true, too true if something like an old gallardo can keep up with these super hyper cars then something newer like the huracan or even the aventador thats a race that i’d like to see any day.

  • Autoholic

    So looks like Lamborghini will stay true to it’s roots and won’t do electric or semi electric propulsion because it’s too heavy and expensive at the moment.

    Curious, so why are others doing it now rather than latter?

    • rik

      I think that was already answered dude, simply for bragging rights, just to be able to say, hey look what I did.

    • danwat1234

      non plug-in hybrid, just hybrid, the batteries shouldn’t weigh more than 100 pounds