By on November 21, 2018

Lamborghini has talked a lot about electrification over the last few years, remaining careful never to commit to anything. While meager production rates seriously limit the environmental impact of its vehicles, the Italian automaker is nonetheless subject to the same pressure to go green as larger brands. Almost a decade ago, the brand vowed to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of its vehicles by roughly one third while simultaneously covering the factory roof with solar panels. It later hinted it might implement widespread turbocharging, much like Ferrari, or go the electrification route.

The greenwashing trend continues today, likely encouraged by Lamborghini’s suddenly eco-conscious parent, Volkswagen. Facing an important crossroad, and surrounded by regulatory and environmental pressures, the company has chosen its path. While Lamborghini’s Stefano Domenicali still seems gently apprehensive, the CEO claims plug-in hybrids will be the best way forward for the brand.  

2019 Lamborghini Urus

In a recent interview with Automotive News, Domenicali explained the firm’s vision for the near term. He said Urus will be an important model, but noted there were fears that Lamborghini won’t be able to meet demand, specifically since shoppers will be less interested in waiting for one in the same way they would for an Aventador. There was also some sales talk — most of it revolving around how Lamborghini expects to break last year’s sales record by a wide margin, thanks again to the Urus. But the most interesting aspect involved the automaker’s engines after 2021.

After being asked if Lamborghini might consider a 2+2 GT model, Domenicali said the brand was hard at work on something that combined “high performance with interior space and driving comfort in a package that, design wise, should be striking as well as highly efficient in terms of aerodynamics” after 2025. While it could appear in electric form, the CEO claimed such a model would only exist alongside a high-performance plug-in hybrid.

“Our final decision should combine what Volkswagen Group could offer in terms of available technology with what Lamborghini customers are asking for,” Domenicali elaborated. “This is the most difficult decision we have to take at Lamborghini and, luckily, we still have time to ponder all the available options. As of today, we do not hear that Lamborghini customers are asking for a battery-powered model, but maybe in seven to nine years they will be — and we should be ready.”

When asked for a more concrete timeline, Domenicali was surprisingly forward.

“Probably around 2021, with the Aventador replacement that will add [an electric] motor to its V12 engine,” the CEO said. “The same will happen later also on the V10 family, when we replace the Huracan. A plug-in model is the only way to maintain performance and keep Lamborghini’s engine sound while also reducing emissions.”

While turbocharging would have worked, Lamborghini has been clear in its fears that the setup could hamper engineers’ ability to coax out a desirable exhaust note. Ferrari managed to pull it off; the rest of the industry yielded spottier results. Lamborghini also wants to keep its larger engines in use for as long as possible, previously noting that electrification offers an interesting solution that can elevate a vehicle’s overall performance.

Meanwhile, the brand still seems adverse to building an all-electric vehicle. Last year, Lambo said it doesn’t envision anything in its lineup that doesn’t burn gasoline until at least 2025. “Electrification is an area of great attention for us, but I’m not expecting it will happen in the short term,” Domenicali explained at the time.

Of course, that claim was followed by the all-electric Lamborghini Terzo Millennio concept a few months later. However, that model was really more of a rolling art piece emphasizing future design and what might be possible via electrification than a blueprint for the company’s next supercar. For now, hybridization is as far as Lamborghini seems willing to go.

Lamborghini Terzo Millennio

[Images: Lamborghini]

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10 Comments on “V12 + Green: Plug-in Hybrids to Succeed Lamborghini’s Aventador and Huracan...”

  • avatar

    Well this will give Lamborghini’s bench racing division a much needed boost as I’m sure they’ve been reeling at the hands of Tesla bros in the YouTube drags!

  • avatar

    Lets see – the average Lambo gets driven 1,000 miles per year, and at 10 mpg that means it burns 100 gallons. At $3 per gallon that adds up to $300 per year in fuel costs. If we assume that the hybrid version costs $5,000 extra and doubles fuel economy to 20 mpg, that means it will only take about 35 years to pay off – but think of all the polar bears that will be saved.

    • 0 avatar

      Nothing to do with fuel economy or greenwashing and everything to do with increasing performance. This myth about electrification being only for green purposes is getting a bit stale. To be honest, it comes from both sides. If you’re an automaker, just be honest and say you’re doing it for the performance.

      Porsche just picked up 10% ownership of Rimac and I’m sure Lamborghini will be getting some of their technology. The Rimac Concept 2 has a zero to 60 time under 2 seconds and I’m sure they’re looking at those numbers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see implement something similar to the Rimac designed Koenigsegg Direct Drive.

      Lamborghini wanting to stick with gas probably has a lot to do with keeping up their service revenue.

      • 0 avatar

        The Acura NSX has lots of nifty hybrid technology, and yet precisely nobody wants it. Considering Honda’s track record of producing technology that works compared to VW’s, I’d think the Acura would be a better place to get your road hugging weight than Lamborghini. The primary appeal of Lamborghini at this point is that you can still get an engine that appeals to the connoisseur instead of the developmentally-arrested spec-sheet fondler. Considering VW already has Bugatti and Porsche to cater to people who care more about quantity than quality, it would make sense to maintain Lamborghini for people who want an alternative to capitulation.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          Honda has been trailing the pack with respect to hybrids since the original Insight. It is one area they are perpetually weak in.

          Performance wise, Hybrid systems are heavy though admittedly I am in a shrinking camp caring about that.

    • 0 avatar

      Lol, Lambo is not doing to to save its owners money. This is all about meeting future emissions regs without the cars sounding like crap via turbocharging.

      Given that requirement I’m all for it. I wish there were more performance hybrids. I’d love if my Optima had a V6 + hybrid over its turbo 2.0T

  • avatar

    The bull is now chuck roast.

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