The Lamborghini Asterion concept is the first hybrid from the raging bull brand, but executives were quick to put the kibosh on production plans. Or maybe not? In an interview with Autocar, Lamborghini’s head of R&D revealed that thanks to a positive public reaction, work on bringing the Asterion to production have taken another step forward.
The Asterion was a surprise move from Lamborghini, which up until its reveal at the Paris Auto Show had demonstrated little interest in plug-in vehicles. But with rivals like Porsche and Ferrari building high-end plug-in sports cars of their own, it became an issue of not if, but when Lamborghini would follow suit. But then Lamborghini’s CEO came out saying he’s “not interested” in building a plug-in supercar, and that seemed to be that, or so we thought.
Turns out the combination of being the most powerful Lamborghini ever and looking damn good was enough for an overwhelmingly positive reaction from the public at large. So although the Asterion might be a little late to the game, it did not disappoint with a 600 horsepower 5.2 liter V10 paired with two electric motors adding another 300 ponies to the front wheels. The resulting plug-in hybrid was good for a combined 900 horsepower, and though heavier than the Aventador, the electric motors more than made up for the weight increase by improving handling to previously unattainable levels.
“The motors work with the plug-in to assist the engine, but also support the dynamics with torque vectoring on the front wheels,” says Maurizio Reggiani, Lambo’s chief of research and development. “The motors can run at different speeds and with different torque levels, improving the agility of the car through the speed at which you can enter and exit a corner.” That makes the 500 pounds of extra motors and equipment worth the tradeoff, though engineers are working to bring that weight even further down before coming to production.
But don’t expect a fully-electric Lamborghini, at least not in the near future. Batteries are still too big and heavy for a true sports car, though the balance struck by the hybrid drivetrain seems about right for Lamborghini right now. It won’t happen tomorrow, but within the next five years expect a plug-in Lamborghini to enter the fray.