EVs an eventuality, but hybrids will prolong ICE cars: Lamborghini boss

Lamborghini hybrid cars

Electric vehicles are well underway in most segments across the world, but unsurprisingly, supercar manufacturers have been relatively slow in the complete shift to electric cars. Apart from a handful of traditional players such as Porsche, Maserati and Lotus who already have an electric supercar on sale, most supercar makers such as Lamborghini, Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin have only outlined a plan for battery-powered EVs– the actual products are still quite some time away.

The emotional aspects of super-sportscars – the sound, mechanical feel and vibrations – are some things that EVs simply haven’t been able to deliver. Its these aspects that are at the core of such super-sportscars, and speaking to Autocar India, Stephan Winkelmann, CEO, Lamborghini Automobili, admits saying, “is going to be challenging to deliver [in an EV].”

No alternative to EVs on the path to zero emissions

“There is no clear substitute to full electric cars if you have to go down to zero emissions,” says Winkelmann. And with several governments across the world – including the US, the European Union and the UK – already having passed ambitious zero emission targets, for a niche carmaker like Lamborghini, it becomes quite complex to adhere to all these regulations.

“The legislators are telling us that we have to reduce emissions dramatically. Today, there are 17 different set of rules across the world around emissions, and that is making our lives very complex. But on the other hand, we have a social responsibility and we have to be in line with these legislations,” he adds.

Hybridisation will help buy more time

Lamborghini has already announced that it will introduce its first EV – previewed by the Lanzador concept – by the end of this decade. However, given that Lamborghini is a relatively low volume manufacturer, their global impact on CO2 emissions isn’t as much, and with hybridisation of its entire lineup by the end of 2024, the carmaker will be able to buy some time to figure out the emotional aspect its super-sportscars, which in Winkelmann’s own words “is big for Lamborghini.”

“For our super-sportscars – the Huracan replacement and the Revuelto – we are going to keep the hybridisation alive for as long as it is possible. Hybridisation gives us a flexibility that will last for at least some years from now. So, we can decide in 3-4 years from now what we want to do with our super-sportscars,” says Winkelmann.

On that note, hybridisation has actually been well received by Lamborghini customers even as Winkelmann admits, “5-6 years ago, no one was believing in hybridisation of our super-sportscars.” The Revuelto is already sold out for the next three years, and a similar approach has also been adopted by rival carmakers such as Ferrari and McLaren.

Opportunity in synthetic fuels

While the firm draws up concrete plans about its future super-sportscars, Winkelmann said synthetic fuels present “an opportunity” to decarbonise the use of these cars while sustaining their combustion engines.

However, he added: “We have to wait and see. We can even use synthetic fuel in the future for our racing activities like the one-make Super Trofeo series. But it’s too early to talk about that because it has to be in an amount that not only benefits Lamborghini, but other brands too. We will have a clearer vision in the years to come, so we have some time to decide.”

In fact, sibling brand Porsche is already investing heavily in synthetic fuels and its also being actively looked at in the realm of motorsports. Formula 1, for instance, has plans to switch to 100 percent synthetic fuel from 2026, and if it becomes any bit scalable from there, it could likely to be adopted in niche car segments as well. As it stands, synthetic fuels are the only hope that could keep the ‘emotion’ of IC engines alive in the future even as the world dives deep into electrification.

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