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Lamborghini and MIT team up to create the self-healing supercar of the future

You would expect the combination of Lamborghini and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to produce a killer supercar, and the Lamborghini Terzo Millenio concept doesn’t disappoint. Unveiled as part of MIT’s EmTech conference, it’s Lambo’s first all-electric concept car, and sports nifty features like self-healing bodywork and semi-autonomous driving capability.

The Terzo Millenio is powered by four electric motors, one for each wheel. But instead of a battery pack like the ones used in today’s electric cars, the motors get their electricity from supercapacitors. While automotive applications have been limited so far, Lamborghini believes supercapacitors are the answer to many of the limitations of current electric cars. Supercapacitors can charge and discharge faster, and store more energy in a given footprint, the automaker claims.

Like any self-respecting supercar, the Terzo Millenio is wrapped in attention-grabbing bodywork. But there’s more to that skin than meets the eye. One area of Lamborghini and MIT’s joint research is the use of carbon fiber body panels as an energy-storage medium, essentially turning the bodywork into a battery. The material can also detect small cracks and “heal” itself, preventing the cracks from expanding and causing an outright breakage.

Lamborghini is adamantly against fully autonomous cars, but the automaker does believe limited autonomy could have a place in future supercars. Instead of taking over driving duties completely, the Terzo Millenio can coach its owner into being a better driver by demonstrating the best line around a track. It would be just like going for a familiarization lap with an instructor, but without the instructor.

Of the many technologies demonstrated on the Terzo Millenio, the autonomous-driving function is probably the closest to production. Lamborghini’s corporate cousin Audi has already taught self-driving cars to lap racetracks fairly quickly, and Roborace has demonstrated a self-driving race car. Lambo’s virtual coach is probably the most appropriate use of this technology in a car which exists solely to give human drivers a thrill.

Nothing about the Lamborghini Terzo Millenio is ready for production yet, though. This concept car just charts a possible course for future generations of Lamborghini supercars. It shows that even if Lambo’s signature V12 engines go the way of the dinosaur, performance still has a future.

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