The drip of manufacturers committing themselves to an electrified future is about to become a torrent, and it seemingly doesn’t matter what level of the car industry they operate at.
Lamborghini has just become the latest to commit itself to electrification, with the announcement its entire model line-up will be PHEV as soon as 2024, and that we’ll be seeing a pure electric model soon after that. And CarAdvice has already talked to company CEO Stefan Winkelmann about this radical new direction.
“For the years 2021 and 2022 we still have a good opportunity to go forward with the combustion engine only,” he said, “then comes the second step, which is the most important one – we have decided to electrify all of our cars, all of our line-up, by the end of 2024.”
The company is going to spend €1.5 billion (AU$2.4 billion) over the next four years introducing plug-in hybrid versions of the Urus, followed by the successors to the current Avantador and Huracan supercars.
Given Lamborghini’s modest volumes that really does count as betting the farm, with Winkelmann confirming that there are no plans to continue with the parallel production of pure combustion versions for those parts of the world that aren’t set to mandate electrification.
Not that lovers of the brand’s sound and fury need to be unduly worried – hybridisation is set to protect it for another generation.
Winkelmann was happy to confirm reports that the Aventador’s replacement will continue with an evolved version of its mighty engine: “the follow-up to the Aventador will still be V12, so the sound issue is not something we need to take care of because the engine will still be there, and it will have the right sound.”
Company insiders have told CarAdvice that the Huracan replacement will be losing that car’s equally charismatic atmo V10, and will switch instead to a twin-turbocharged V8.
While that might seem like a step down in experiential terms, it will still give the junior Lambo supercar a point of distinction over the V6 McLaren Artura. (Aston Martin’s decision to switch the forthcoming mid-engined Valhalla and Vanquish from a proposed V6 to AMG-sourced V8s means the Macca looks set to be the segment’s runt on cylinders and capacity.
Both new Lamborghini supercars are set to have electrically-powered front axles – removing the need for a mechanical connection down the length of the car – and will also get hybrid assistance for their mid-mounted ICE engines.
Although not confirming the finer mechanical details, Winkelmann did say that every future hybrid will be quicker than the car it replaces: “this is the big challenge. Very clearly they have to have better performance than the models of today while reducing the emissions.”
In the case of the Urus that strongly suggests a system based on the V8 version fitted to the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid.
One thing the next-gen supercars won’t have is a super-capacitor hybrid system similar to that pioneered by the limited-run Sian (below).
“[A supercap] is fast charging, but also fast discharging,” Winkelmann said, “if you need to enlarge range and reduce emissions you need a battery which is holding the power. So this is something we cannot continue.”
But beyond the hybrids, change is set to get more radical, with Lamborghini having started to actively plan its first pure-electric vehicle (EV).
“We want to have a new model line in the second half of this decade,” Winkelmann said. “And this will be our first full electric model. We see this as a two-door four-seater, but we have not made up our minds yet because we still have some time to decide.”
This won’t be anything like one of the company’s current supercars. “The acceptance of electric BEVs [in this part of the market] is not there yet in our opinion,” Winkelmann explained. “In the last year we’ve seen cars coming out that were not finding the acceptance of customers.”
It won’t be an SUV either, although the next-gen Urus seems likely gain at least the option of a pure EV powertrain.
“It cannot cannibalise what we have today,” Winkelmann said, “but my dream is to have the best of two worlds, to try to have a car which is a four-seater two door like the GT cars of the ‘fifties and ‘sixties… we had the Espada in the ‘sixties and this combined with higher seating, with more ground clearance, because this is the way of today, could be a perfect opportunity.”
Given that Bugatti – which Winkelmann also leads - is set to work with Croatian performance EV specialist Rimac, could Lamborghini join this alliance? Winkelmann refuses to close the door, but his answer is deliberately cautious.
“For the three hybrids we are bringing to market before the end of 2024 the doors are closed and all the things are done – Rimac is not part of this game,” he said. “For the future, never say never, let’s say we have a very open ear for everybody who wants to talk to us and we are very open in terms of looking into opportunities.”
There are still many unanswered questions, but there is no doubt that Lamborghini’s future is going to be electric.