Saturday, 22 May 2021

Lamborghini Going All-Electric

 

Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann made waves on Tuesday as he presented a radical plan to wean the Italian-German brand known for its brash V12 engines completely off gasoline by the end of the decade. That’s not a typo: Lamborghini plans to go all-electric in just 9 years’ time. If you believe that, I have a few vehicles and some “valuable” real estate to sell you, but you must act quickly


This push, as you probably already guessed, is to “decarbonize” Lamborghini. After all, carbon is so horrible we all aspirate it constantly, not just the cars, plus plants need it to breathe. But it’s very fashionable to talk about eliminating carbon from the atmosphere, like how it’s fashionable to talk about the latest fad diet and how you’re totally going to start a new workout program next week.

photo credit: Lamborghini
photo credit: Lamborghini

Called “Direzione Car Tauri” (Towards Car Tauri – which is a star) this new program is apparently focused on finding a brighter tomorrow for Lamborghini. It’s made up of three phases and we’re already in the first one, which ends next year. Lambo brass will be focusing on celebrating the combustion engine which just has to go. However, two new V12 cars will be added to the lineup as the last hurrah before all the fun is ruined.

photo credit: Lamborghini
photo credit: Lamborghini

Phase two begins by the end of 2024 and will be all about a transition into hybrid powertrains. The year before, the very first hybrid series production car from Lamborghini will launch, paving the way for the rest of the brand to follow by December of 2024. We’ve seen the awesome performance of hybrid supercars, so this might not be all bad, although we question what the transition will do to the prices of new Lambos, not to mention the raucous sounds one makes at WOT.

photo credit: Lamborghini
photo credit: Lamborghini

Funding phase two isn’t going to be cheap. Winkelmann says Lamborghini will need over 1.5 billion euros over a 4-year period to make the transition work. That’s a lot of cash, so hopefully Volkswagen Group is willing to pony up. Speaking of VW, it’s pretty clear this push is coming at the parent company’s behest. After all, Audi is also moving away from internal combustion engines and we expect the rest of the Group will do the same soon.

Then there’s phase three, where things started getting ill-defined. In the second half of this decade it will take place, Lamborghini says, and that’s when the brand will go all-electric. A fourth model will be added to the lineup, presumably it will be the first Lamborghini EV production car.

photo credit: Lamborghini
photo credit: Lamborghini

Since Lamborghini isn’t putting hard numbers to the EV transition, it’s okay to be skeptical about this plan actually coming to fruition. Right now, a growing number of automakers are saying they’re going all-electric, but it almost seems like this is being with a wink and a nod. After all, EVs make up just a sliver of the market at the moment. We don’t doubt that sliver will grow dramatically over the next 9 years, but for it to become the entire market seems wildly optimistic.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Lamborghini has planned for what to do if going all-electric isn’t tenable in the time period it’s named. While it’s great to push forward and develop new technology, the microchip shortages we’re experiencing now and other past events in the auto industry should teach us to approach electrification with more realistic caution. However, that doesn’t generate nearly as glowing press and happy investors.

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