On its 60-year anniversary, Lamborghini unveiled the Italian brand’s first ever model to come equipped with a partially electric drivetrain that reduces CO2 emissions.
But don’t be fooled. The Revuelto plug-in hybrid is not for tree-huggers and is anything but green.
The super car uses its three electric motors and puny 3.8 kilowatt hour battery primarily for acceleration boosts to give it an ultrafast 0-100 kph (62 mph) sprint time of 2.5 seconds.
In reality, the supercar is still first and foremost a combustion engine car powered by a V12 engine just like its many predecessors, such as the Aventador, the last of which was built in September.
The two-door coupe, which is reportedly expected to retail for close to a million dollars each, doesn’t even bother with the turbocharging otherwise ubiquitous in today’s cars, forfeiting the added fuel efficiency in favor of a smoother throttle response that only comes from a naturally aspirated engine.
“Revuelto was born to break the mold, combining a new 12-cylinder engine with hybrid technology, creating the perfect balance between delivering the emotion that our clients want with the necessity to reduce emissions,” said Lamborghini boss Stephan Winkelmann.
Exact figures are still to be determined, but the brand estimates it will save about 30% of the CO2 produced from the tailpipe of the outgoing Aventador, which pumped out an eye-watering 442 grams per kilometer—more than quadruple the level of an average new car in Europe.
The Revuelto comes with one game-changing feature no previous Lambo offered, however: a new zero-emissions mode called Città. Named after the Italian word for city, it enables “everyday driving in urban centers”.
Why is this important? Because a number of pollution-choked inner cities are increasingly moving towards banning combustion engine cars entirely. Even though Aventadors are typically only taken out on weekend joyrides, it’s difficult to wow onlookers if you’re not allowed to drive downtown in the first place. The new driving mode enable a quick CO2-free spin around populated high streets to soak up the envious stares.
“This makes it possible for example to access historic city centers with emissions restrictions,” the company wrote.
Reportedly the 3.8 kWh battery stores enough energy to drive a little over 6 miles before either the V12 kicks in and begins to replenish the drained cells in six minutes or the driver hooks it up to a conventional plug for a half hour.
Luxury sports cars benefit as Europe looks to water down 2035 combustion engine ban
Not that Lambo going electric will contribute at all to solving climate change. Thank to its exorbitant prices, the ultra-luxury carmaker is even smaller than Ferrari, selling just 9,233 vehicles in 2022—though that was still enough for it to notch a new record.
The flagship 12-cylinder coupes that shape the brand’s image are even more exclusive and tend to spend most of their lives parked in wealthy car collectors’ garages. Volumes of the Aventador averaged at just 875 units annually over the past four years.
The car’s development was launched during a period when Lamborghini’s future at the VW group looked uncertain and rumors persisted that ex-finance chief Frank Witter was pushing internally for the brand to be put on the chopping block.
Wolfsburg’s push into zero-emission cars came amid a newfound zeal for electric cars under ex-CEO Herbert Diess, and ever more stringent tailpipe CO2 targets from the European Union that make life difficult for exotic sports car brands like Lamborghini.
As a result of this uncertainty over its place in the VW group, Lamborghini needed to quickly become very profitable on its own while developing a roadmap to reduce the carbon footprint of its model range.
It expects to accomplish both, with an operating margin of 26% last year that ranks among the best in the industry. It also remains on track to electrify by the end of next year its other two vehicles, the smaller Huracan coupe and Urus SUV. This puts it in a position to cut its official CO2 tailpipe emissions in half by the beginning of 2025.
Fortunately, conditions have since changed in Lambo’s favor. For one, its place in VW has since been firmly secured with the board of directors overruling management’s divestment plans.
Now the EU Commission looks prepared to ditch plans for an outright ban of vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE) cars by 2035, opening up a potential loophole for their continued sale on the stipulation they run on carbon-neutral fuels.
Gasoline can be synthesized artificially by splitting water molecules into its constituent elements using green energy. By combining the hydrogen and oxygen with carbon captured from ambient air, methyl alcohol can be produced and then treated in further process steps to adapt it for use in cars. Since electricity is the primary input, they are known as electrofuels.
By including these so-called ‘eFuels’, luxury sports car brands can keep producing lucrative combustion models like the Porsche 911 or Lamborghini Huracan.
Banning ICEs from Europe would have made the economics of developing high-powered sports cars mainly for North America more difficult for brands like Lamborghini and Porsche.
That’s because China, while vast, is underdeveloped as a sports car market, with image-conscious domestic buyers preferring bulky SUVs and stately sedans to small agile coupes while navigating the choking traffic of its megacities.
Ferrari boss Benedetto Vigna, who recently launched a V8 plug-in hybrid in the SF90 Stradale, welcomed the EU Commission’s current thinking as “good news”.
“This decision is very interesting for us because it allow ICEs to go beyond 2036,” he told Reuters on Monday.
Source : Fortune