When Maurizio Reggiani, Lamborghini’s head of research and development walked into the company boardroom in Sant'Agata a year ago, something quite extraordinary happened. Following a meeting with some of the brightest brains from the the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Italian automaker – best known for creating high-octane, petrol-powered supercars – started out on a journey to define not just the supercar of tomorrow, but the supercar of the third millennium. 12 months, countless inspirational ideas and a healthy amount of head scratching later and, hey presto, out rolls the Lamborghini Terzo Millenio – a radical all-electric, self-driving and – wait for it – self-healing hypercar.
Like something ripped from the set of Blade Runner 2049, the Terzo Millenio – meaning third millennium in Italian – is far more than box-ticking exercise for Lamborghini’s press department – it’s an automotive game changer.
“The sports car of the future uses electricity instead of gasoline,” say the company, boldly signalling its intent to join the likes of all-electric supercar makers NIO and Rimac. Despite having only existed for a handful of years, both companies have successfully designed, developed and delivered fully-electric supercars capable of competing with long-established performance car manufacturers like Ferrari and McLaren. But Lamborghini is different. Unlike NIO and Rimac, the Italian marque has a long legacy associated with petrol powered performance cars, making its decision to ditch the combustion engine and adopt electric all the more significant.
“Collaborating with MIT for our R&D department is an exceptional opportunity to do what Lamborghini has always been very good at: rewriting the rules on super sports cars,” says Lamborghini Chairman and CEO Stefano Domenicali, and rewrite the rules is exactly what the marque is doing. With its ‘Piloted Driving’ simulation, the driver can opt to be taken around a racetrack by a virtual expert before the driver takes over, experiencing the real car and circuit while following the virtual ghost car. Sounds like science fiction, right? Well, you’d better believe it – Lamborghini want to make it happen and who better to see it through than a company that went from making agricultural tractors to some of the world’s finest supercars.
Although the Terzo Millenio concept won’t be prowling the streets anytime soon, it represents a monumental shift in the way established manufacturers envisage the future of mobility. So far, some of the world's largest car makers, such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Nissan, BMW, Renault, DS, Porsche, Jaguar, Mahindra and Venturi have all shown a commitment to electric mobility, either through existing road cars or their commitment to teams in the FIA Formula E Championship. With race series like Formula E driving forward the future of mobility by serving as a testbed for both fully-electric and – with the addition of the driverless Roborace event – autonomous cars, radical visions like the Terzo Millenio could become reality sooner than you think.
Bravo Lamborghini, a bold move indeed. Now, who’s turn is it next?