Hybrid vehicles have been around for a long time with the Toyota Prius being the most successful hybrid vehicle ever manufactured. And the Lamborghini Sián aims to be the next milestone.
The Toyota Prius is the most sold and most successful Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HeV) in production. Toyota has sold more than 6.1 million units of Prius since its launch in 1997. We have seen numerous other hybrids take to the road in all shapes and sizes, but one thing remains constant; the technology. The new Lamborghini Sián is here to break the norm.
Every Hybrid's Story
A Hybrid Electric Vehicle works on the simple principle of “two-in-one”. The vehicle can run on a combustion engine as well as using an electric motor. This system remains the same for all HeVs out there with only the power balance and specifications changing.
Then, you have the type of HeV that matters. The earliest HeVs started as plug-in hybrids where you had to charge the vehicles using a physical charger at a station while the engine required regular fuel. The engines weren’t powerful enough, and the batteries wouldn’t last long enough. That is until electric vehicles entered the market.
The advancements made in purely electric vehicles also gave hybrids a new lease of life—better battery technologies, powerful motors and charging technologies allowed for more efficient combinations. We got two new types of hybrids; engine-charged hybrids and brake-charged (regenerative braking system) hybrids. Energy Recovery Systems (ERS) is now used in motorsport, most popularly in Formula One, and has drastically improved combinations and electric vehicles’ viability as a whole.
Lamborghini Sian: Leading the Change
If there is one thing that is annoying in terms of these vehicles, it is the battery. Batteries take a considerable (not always) amount of time to charge, and some time to discharge too. While the latter is a good thing, it isn’t when you require power instantaneously.
Current technology does not allow Lithium-Ion batteries to be ultra-responsive and super quick in terms of charging. Enter Lamborghini Sián. The Sián is the first hybrid electric vehicle ever manufactured by Lamborghini, and the first-ever hybrid manufactured that does not have a lithium-ion battery.
Yep, you read it right. So, how is it a hybrid? Well, Lamborghini has decided to use a lithium-ion supercapacitor instead, which has a much higher performance curve than simple batteries. For example, the supercapacitor is three times more powerful than a Li-ion battery of the same weight!
The supercapacitor directly feeds the energy to the motor, which powers the rear wheels with maximum torque. When under braking, the inertia charges the supercapacitor. The power flow is very symmetrical and has the same efficiency while charging and discharging, without overheating. This, combined with the V12 785hp engine, gives the Lamborghini Sián a whopping 819hp in total making it the most powerful road car ever made to date.
Will Other Manufacturers Follow?
This is an ambiguous question to answer as the supercapacitor technology has not yet made its way into the automobile industry. The tech is still very much confined to computers and electronic hardware. Adapting it into a car is the first time someone has thought of supercapacitor in this particular application. Lamborghini has definitely sparked interest though.
Current infrastructure worldwide is designed to work with Li-ion batteries, and mass production is not currently possible. Supercapacitors require a slightly higher level and precision of engineering than batteries, and even then, the capacitor’s cost factor speaks volumes. It is easier to create this hybrid system for fewer cars or high-end manufacturers, but mass production companies cannot adopt this technology yet.
However, innovation isn’t just limited to the automotive industry as the aviation industry enters the electric market. Weight and size matter a lot in aerospace and aviation and inculcating supercapacitors into the aircraft will be a boon for manufacturers for these systems.
Now, back to the Lamborghini Sián. The car is valued at an insane $3.7 million. There is no way we can lay our hands on one. Assuming you have the facilities to acquire one, we wouldn’t suggest you raise your hopes as Lamborghini has decided only to produce 63 of these. And they’re all ALREADY sold out. Yup, the pain is real. Sián means lightning in the Bolognese dialect of Italian and we are sure that this car will take the world by storm. Come on. It’s a Lambo after all!