By on March 10, 2017

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Lamborghini has said it is more or less open to the idea of an all-electric car, though it definitely hasn’t considered it seriously. While parent company Volkswagen AG has made lofty promises of sweeping electrification and imposed its zero-emission mindset onto the majority of its automotive brands, the Italian supercar manufacturer is not yet among them.

However, Lamborghini has shown that it’s not immune to industry trends. Its almost-family-friendly Urus SUV begins production next month and the automaker has said it plans to launch a hybridized version by 2020. While you can’t ignore the LM002 that preceded it, that’s still a far cry from the pavement-scraping exotics it’s best known for. There has also been plenty of speculation that the company was  developing a Porsche Mission E-based electric model called Vitola. Lamborghini dispelled those rumors and has since gone on to say that a battery-only car won’t be on the table before 2025 — and perhaps not even then.  

“Electrification is an area of great attention for us, but I’m not expecting it will happen in the short term,” Lambo CEO Stefano Domenicali told Reuters at the Geneva International Motor Show.

Domenicali claims the reason revolves around a need to preserve the basic nature of a supercar — specifically referencing weight and performance. He also said that the automaker has to consider the cost of developing an EV that would meet Lamborghini’s standards for a supercar. It’s easy to poke holes in this argument, as the Urus shares a platform with the Bentley Bentayga and Audi Q7. Neither of those are svelte vehicles and, while nobody expects the Lambo to match the Bentley’s 5,340 pound heft, the Urus will undoubtedly tip the scales at over two tons.

Sharing internals with other companies lowers development costs, and Lamborghini would almost certainly adopt its electric motor from another VW brand. However, some financial investment would still be required, and that’s the crux of this issue. While I want to believe that the company cares about what a fire-breathing bull-badged supercar should represent, the real reason the Italians are taking a pass on electric cars has everything to do with sales. An EV simply wouldn’t do well enough to rationalize placing it on the market, at least not as a high-performance, low-slung automobile.

Lamborghini has enjoyed good sales figures since the recession, but expanding on them doesn’t appear to be in the cards over the next few years. “For the medium term, I don’t see a change in that substantially positive trend, especially since economic regions like the U.S. and China are showing unchanged growth.” Domenicali explained.

He says production of supercar models will be capped at around 3,500, with a little wiggle room left over — enough for a few hundred extra cars, but no more. The reason is simply to maintain the brand’s exclusivity. Of course, those rules do not apply to the upcoming SUV. If the Urus achieves the kind of success seen by Porsche’s Macan or Cayenne, it could easily double the company’s vehicle output.

“We will be prudent. Of course we will grow sustainably, but being in the luxury market we must not take every growth potential that is there,” said the CEO.

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10 Comments on “Lamborghini Takes a Pass on Electrification for Reasons Other Than Claimed...”

  • avatar

    I’m no engineer, but it seems to me a “hybridized” SUV isn’t all that difficult to do technically. An electric Lamborghini supercar would be a whole different story. Truly effective electrics have to be developed from the ground up that way. The ones that aren’t tend to be half-a*sed failures (Fiat 500e, Focus electric, etc). Doing a dedicated electric car with Lamborghini-worthy performance would be a technical moonshot.

    I see why they don’t want to go down that rabbit hole.

    • 0 avatar

      Is anyone asking for a dedicated EV supercar?

      I think pundits are wondering why McLaren and Ferrari can get into electric supplemented supercars but Lamborghini cant?

      With even Audi VWs technical clout? Does the market care?

      Strangely Porsche is into the EV jazz too.

    • 0 avatar

      Hybrid vehicles are hideously complicated. GM likes to brag the Volt has more lines of code than a fighter jet, and having done some work with hybrids I really don’t doubt them.

      When you get down to it, BEVs are pretty simple, you have a battery (usually LOTS of small ones), some battery monitoring/balancing software (mostly thermal, current, and voltage monitoring), a fairly simple inverter, a fairly simple charger, and a simple as rocks induction motor. Boom, there’s a Tesla.

      The main reason that most battery electric vehicles you’ve seen aren’t great is that they’re not intended to be great. They’re compliance cars, and have as little effort expended on them as physically possible. The Focus Electric and the Fiat 500e solely exist so that the GT350R and the Hellcat can be sold in California, no matter what their OEMs say.

  • avatar

    “specifically referencing weight and performance. ”

    An Aventador (LP 750-4 SV) with fluids is 3,900 lbs. A Rimac Concept 1 all electric quad motor supercar is 4,030. Just 130 lbs. difference.

    Edit: Rimac Concept S is 3968 lbs. So, all electric is 68 lbs. more.

  • avatar

    Smells like there’s some brand positioning going on too – with Audi angling for the electro-tech side and Lambo for the gas performance side for now.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “A man’s got to know his limitations.” – Harry Callahan

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