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Lamborghini Aventador successor to use supercapacitors instead of batteries?

While we continue trying to zero in on the next-generation Lamborghini flagship and its specs, Lamborghini CTO Maurizio Reggiani spoke to Road & Track to offer glimpses and set a few things straight. Discussing the coming LB48H supercar, Reggiani said the use of supercapacitors in that limited-run supercar will be a “first jump” into a robust hybrid application for supercapacitors, and that Lamborghini “will prove that in a super sports car, it’s possible to have this technology.”

We’ve known the LB48H would use supercapacitors, but we didn’t — and frankly still don’t — know how. Based on Reggiani’s comment, and likely the fact that Lamborghini uses a special supercar to hint at what’s coming in tech and design, RT takes Reggiani’s comments to mean that the Aventador successor will “store its electric power electrostatically instead of electrochemically, as you would with a lithium-ion battery.”

A caveat to this comes in another of Reggiani’s remarks. He said the brand hasn’t given any indication when an Aventador successor will reach the market, and before that happens, the brand is deciding whether to do another special edition flagship. “There’s the possibility to have a kind of final Aventador family member,” he said, because the brand probably won’t get another chance to make a non-hybrid V12 after the scissor doors come down on the Aventador. Sales of the 6.5-liter V12 monster are still on the rise, remember.

The current Aventador already uses a supercapacitor for the starter battery, to run the stop-start system. And the Italian carmaker has been working with MIT for years on such technology previewed in the Terzo Millennio concept, and rolled out for prime time in the LB48H. It’s hard to see supercapacitors alone serving the next flagship, though, because company CEO Stefano Domenicali has said that “we need to respect legislation. In certain places, you will need electrification to go into the city.”

Supercapacitors can boost the kind of fast-acting peak performance buyers expect of a V12 Lamborghini. But their specific energy is roughly one-tenth that of a lithium-ion battery, or less; to provide the kind of range needed for all-electric trips into a city, the flagship would need a trailer hitch to haul a Urus carrying the supercapacitor array.

Lamborghini has already said the best-case scenario for the Aventador successor is a 330- to 440-pound weight gain because of the hybrid system. How they use that weight, we can only wait to find out. So expect a lot more software control for the chassis to reduce the sensation of weight, and even wider use of carbon fiber.

Lamborghini LB48H hypercar due next year: You might even say it glows

We know there’s a hybridLamborghini Aventador successor coming sometime between 2020 and 2022. Due to deleted Instagram posts and a fissures in the rumor-verse, we expect a hypercar codenamed LB48H to preview the next electrified V12 Lamborghini. Autocar reports the next model in the Italian carmaker’s series of low-volume specials will cost about $2.6 million, making it just another walk in the hypercar park as for price. The weird part is where Road & Track, referencing “a source familiar with Lamborghini’s plans,” says the LB48H will glow in the dark.

The source didn’t elaborate, so not even RT knows what that means. The Lamborghini Terzo Millennio concept from 2017 revealed a smattering of Tron-like light sculpture in its launch video. The wheels and engine bay glow, illuminated Italian flag graphics mark the front fenders, LED piping runs down the centerline. But lights don’t come under the traditional definition of “glow in the dark.” If the LB48H really does sport some kind of overall incandescence, well, we’re about to enter a new chapter in hypercars.

Other questions remain about how the LB48H will preview the future of Sant’ Agata. The company’s head of R&D has bemoaned the weight of batteries, admitting that the best-case scenario for the coming series-production hybrid V12 flagship means an additional 330 to 440 pounds.

It’s thought that the hypercar will use supercapacitors instead of batteries, providing a lightweight solution that would also showcase future technical potential. The all-electric Terzo Millennio employed nascent supercapacitor tech Lamborghini has been developing with MIT. That solution’s upside is lighter size and weight compared to batteries, longer service life, a supercapacitor’s fast charge and discharge ability, and the fact that it can discharge and recover energy at the same time. The downside is that supercapacitors have low energy density compared to lithium-ion batteries, so it’s possible the LB48H could use a battery and a supercapacitor to work a 49-horsepower motor aiding an 789-hp V12.

The production V12 is expected to get a more mundane solution. Lamborghini’s looking ahead to cities mandating a minimum all-electric range up to 31 miles. One idea in play is a split hybrid layout, with an electric motor in charge of the front axle. That eliminates a prop shaft, and sharpens front axle response and torque vectoring. However, without a front transmission, a split system loses efficiency when approaching the triple-digit speeds integral to the brand. The other option would be a more traditional blended hybrid.

Lamborghini’s said to have shown the LB48H to prospective buyers in June. We should see the real thing and its possibly glowing carbon fiber soon.

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