Engineers at Lamborghini are collaborating with researchers at MIT in the US on a self-repairing electric supercar concept that doesn’t have batteries and stores electrical energy within its own body panels.
Through the so-called Terzo Millennio (Italian for third millennium), which was unveiled at MIT’s annual EmTech conference in Cambridge Massachusetts, the two groups are exploring a range of ideas that they believe could reshape electric vehicles.
The concept is being developed through a three-year collaboration between the two groups that is aimed at exploring the science behind some of Lamborghini’s more outlandish concepts.
At the heart of the concept is a different approach to energy storage. The group aims to develop carbon nanotube supercapacitors that can be integrated into the body of the vehicle and used alongside regenerative braking technology to simultaneously harvest and release electric power.
Details on how this will be achieved, and specifically how the group will overcome the energy storage limitations of supercapacitors, are hazy with a statement from Lamborghini stating an ambition to “to better the limits of current technology and close the gap on conventional batteries’ energy density”.
The project also aims to develop technology that would be able to continuously monitor the vehicle’s carbon fibre structure for small cracks and trigger a self-healing process that see carbon nanotubes released to fill in the cracks and prevent them from spreading. In this case a self-repairing process starts via micro-channels filled with healing chemistries, reducing to zero the risks of small cracks propagating further in the carbon fibre structure.
As previously reported by The Engineer, the idea of self-healing composite materials is one that’s being explored by a number of different industries.
Prof John Hart, leader of one of the MIT teams working on the project said: “We are thrilled to combine our expertise in advanced materials and manufacturing with the vision and support of Automobili Lamborghini, and to realise new concepts that will shape the future of transportation.”