Lamborghini, MIT patent supercapacitor tech
The innovation aims to double energy density compared to current production technology.
Lamborghini's collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has led to a co-authored patent for supercapacitor technology.
MIT professors have synthesized a new material based on the metal-organic frameworks (MOF) concept, increasing the specific surface area of electrodes used in supercapacitors. The innovation is claimed to double the energy density compared to the current production technology.
Lamborghini recently unveiled a new flagship hypercar, the Sian, that employs supercapacitor technology as an alternative to traditional batteries. The Sian integrates a relatively small electric motor, accounting for just 34 horsepower, while a naturally aspirated V12 provides the rest of the total 800-horsepower output.
The company has claimed lithium-ion cells are still too heavy to be used in its performance-focused cars. A supercapacitor allows larger amounts of energy to be discharged instantaneously, however the technology is still not a viable alternative to lithium-ion as primary storage for long-range electric vehicles.
"The current patent, which is the result of two years' work, represents significant progress but its potential is much greater, even when compared to the supercapacitors used on the Lamborghini Sián, which are at the cutting edge of conventional technology in this field," the company explains.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk years ago argued that supercapacitors represent the most likely 'breakthrough' to replace lithium-ion cells in EVs. The company recently acquired supercapacitor startup Maxwell Technologies, hinting at progress toward fulfilling the prediction, however the automaker has not indicated any plans to switch to supercapacitors for its production EVs.
Numerous laboratory innovations still need to prove production viability to rival lithium-ion batteries. Any purported breakthroughs must be competitive in terms of energy density, long-term durability, cold- and hot-weather usability, and cost per kilowatt-hour.