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Lamborghini's top engineer says hybrid tech will keep V12 alive

A rumored smaller V12 may need electric motors to top the company's current powertrains.

Lamborghini CTO Maurizio Reggiani has outlined a hybrid vision for the supercar brand, viewing electrification as critical in developing ever-more-powerful models.

Speaking to Motor Authority, Reggiani acknowledged the Raging Bull marque is deeply tied to its V12 engines and the company will "need electrification" to reduce emissions and achieve higher output specs.

A hybrid Urus has already been publicly confirmed. The SUV is the most logical starting point for numerous reasons. The largest Lamborghini can better accommodate heavy batteries and electric motors, while its customer base is less performance-obsessed than some who buy an Aventador or Huracan. Now the brand's best seller by a wide margin, the SUV will also have the biggest impact on overall average fuel economy -- providing more headroom for the gas-thirsty supercars.

"Urus is a vehicle where space and weight are not so fundamental like in a super sport car," Reggiani said. "But it is clear that it is a still a Lamborghini and we need to define what is the right interpretation of hybridization...It can not be a commodity."

The executive was clear in declaring naturally-aspirated engines to be the best fit for Lamborghini performance cars, discouraging the company from following rivals that have embraced turbo V8 powertrains.

Lamborghini and other supercar brands are eagerly awaiting further improvements in battery technology that could bring huge performance gains with minimal weight penalty compared to the current energy density of lithium-ion cells. Promising research has pointed to supercapacitors as a potential solution. None of the "game changing" battery innovations have proven viable in a production car quite yet, however.

Rumors circulating last year suggested Lamborghini's first hybrid V12 powertrain could appear as early as 2020. It is expected to power the Aventador's successor and a limited-edition flagship hypercar. Reggiani currently dismisses talk of an immediate replacement for the Aventador. A seven-figure limited-edition model is consequently more likely in the near term.

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