EVs an eventuality, but hybrids will prolong ICE cars: Stephan Winkelmann, CEO, Automobili Lamborghini

Stephan Winkelmann believes hybridisation will provide the company with a window to focus on delivering the 'emotional aspect' of EVs.

By Autocar India News Desk calendar 25 Feb 2024 Views icon3313 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
EVs an eventuality, but hybrids will prolong ICE cars: Stephan Winkelmann, CEO, Automobili Lamborghini

There's no dearth of electric vehicles around the world in every segment, but unsurprisingly, supercar manufacturers have been relatively slow to shift to electric cars. Apart from a handful of traditional players like Porsche, Maserati and Lotus, who already have an electric supercar on sale, most supercar makers such as LamborghiniFerrariMcLaren 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 a super sportscar – the sound, mechanical feel and vibrations – are some things that EVs simply haven’t been able to deliver. Speaking to our sister publication, Autocar India, Automobili Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann says incorporating these aspects “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,” said 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 line-up by the end of 2024, the carmaker will be able to buy some time to figure out the emotional aspect of 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 hybridisation alive as long as possible. Hybridisation gives us a flexibility that will last for at least some years. So we can decide 3-4 years from now what we want to do with our super sportscars,” said Winkelmann.

On that note, hybridisation has actually been well received by Lamborghini customers. 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. Winkelmann admits, “5-6 years ago, no one was believing in hybridisation of our super sportscars.”

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 it's 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 scalable, 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 into electrification.

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