Lamborghini has released a concept model of their new Terzo Millennio sports car, and it could revolutionize how we look at electric vehicles. Working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), they’ve been looking into energy storage systems that would increase their effectiveness. This combined with the right materials could create a futuristic vehicle that’s continuing to change the EV reputation.
Fully electric vehicles typically rely on lithium-ion batteries. They have plenty of advantages, including an extremely low self-discharge rate, but there’s issues that remain. Perhaps the biggest complaint is how far EVs can travel. Some new models can get over 300 miles per charge, but the average still rests below that.
Instead of using a traditional li-ion battery, Lamborghini will be opting for supercapacitors in the Terzo Millennio. They provide higher performance with benefits such as charging and releasing energy quicker and they last longer. Similar to a laptop or cell phone battery, the capacity gets smaller in them after every charge. That degrading feature is minimal in a supercapacitor.
Supercapacitors are a very intriguing alternative to batteries that could provide extremely fast charging for our devices. However, mass use of the technology is limited to its current drawbacks. It has a very low amount of storage density when compared to batteries and they require low voltage to operate.
Even now, existing supercapacitors can only power devices for a small fraction that a li-ion battery can handle. In order to increase this for supercapacitors, researchers have looked into a method that uses liquid salt to coat its graphene conductor. This addition keeps these conductor sheets from combining, creating more surface area. Along with the liquid salt itself, this creates bigger storage capacity.
In order to take advantage of this technology, the sports car will be made out of a lightweight carbon fiber structure. The entire vehicle could end up being used for energy storage, meaning no compartments for batteries are required. This feature would also provide a self-healing technique that would detect and fix cracks that could affect the carbon fiber structure.
Lamborghini will be looking at five different factors for the Terzo Millennio, which translates to “third millennium.” They’ve already been looking into energy storage and innovative materials through two laboratories inside the MIT: the Dinca Research Lab and the Mechanosynthesis Group. Funded by Lamborghini, the research could pave the way toward new energy storage in supercapacitors.
"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,”Professor Mircea Dinca of the Department of Chemistry at MIT said in Lamborghini’s press release. “We look forward to teaming up with their engineers and work on this exciting project.”