Lamborghini CTO Says Revuelto’s Electric Power Capped at 20%
- With a 3.8-kWh battery pack and three electric motors, the 2024 Lamborghini Revuelto plug-in hybrid is a performance and engineering wonder, and it makes 1000 hp.
- Lamborghini has explored electrification before, but the Revuelto is symbolic of shifting attitudes among even the most stubborn, old-school supercar manufacturers.
- Even so, Lamborghini Chief Technical Officer Rouven Mohr said the transition, from a corporate and a mechanical standpoint, will be gradual and in the name of performance.
Lamborghini is going electric, sort of. In case you didn’t hear the news, Lamborghini is adding a plug-in hybrid electric supercar to its lineup, which will ultimately replace the Aventador as its flagship. Lamborghini is calling it the Revuelto, and it features a lot of new technology well beyond its electrified heart.
Powered by a new-design, naturally aspirated 6.5-liter V12 mid-mounted engine, Lamborghini has augmented this already stout powertrain with three electric motors, for a total output of 1000 hp. But the placement of the electric motors is fascinating itself, as two of them are placed within the front axle and the third sits on top of the rear-mounted eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and is directly connected to both rear wheels. This allows Lamborghini to retain its long tradition of all-wheel drive and provide active torque vectoring on all four corners of the Revuelto.
The transmission is mounted out back to allow for the 3.8-kWh pouch battery pack to be slotted into the middle of the carbon-intensive “mono-fuselage” as a sort of spine. Even with this extra battery weight, the new carbon- and aluminum-blend chassis design will actually be 10% lighter than the outgoing Aventador, with 30% lower emissions as well. It can even drive in the all-electric mode under the right conditions, though Lamborghini has yet to say an exact range number. Given its battery size, however, we would expect the range to be around 20 miles.
But this is a Lamborghini after all, so who cares about charging speeds or electric range?
While many Revuelto buyers (of which there are two years’ worth) may not have the environment in mind, the addition of electrified power is really a move toward modern performance for Lamborghini. With a 25% stiffer chassis as compared to the Aventador, model-specific Bridgestone Potenza Sport tires, and an overhauled braking system including decoupled brake boosters and 10-piston front calipers, it’s clear Lamborghini is committed to generational progression on the dynamics front.
To learn more about Lamborghini’s shift toward electrification, the importance of true performance, and what the future of Lamborghini holds, we chatted with Chief Technical Officer Rouven Mohr at the Lamborghini Lounge in New York City, with the Revuelto on hand.
Autoweek: This thing looks great, and the new orange color is vibrant. Can you outline which critical pieces are new, and why these pieces were newly developed?
Rouven Mohr: Regarding the main changes, everything is all new. The shape itself is oriented on the Aventador, for sure, because it’s our design philosophy. Our cars have always been this kind of shape. But in reality, there is no single part that is carried over from the Aventador, besides a screw or something. The engine is completely revised because we have to rotate it. We have a new casting for the block, and we have an all-new drivetrain. We even have an all-new gearbox and new front axle with two axial-flux electric motors.
To be honest, I even don’t know if there is any other production car that has two axial-flux e-motors because it’s a very specific type of e-motor that allows maximum torque. And we use this torque for three reasons because people are always thinking acceleration, which is true, but we also use it for torque vectoring and energy recuperation.
AW: With so much power running through the Revuelto, what was the process for cooling these newly added electric drivetrain components?
RM: We have really worked a lot on the cooling concept. A first thing is a downsizing approach, so the driver has to have the advantages and the performance of the hybrid system in reality, not only measuring one time. The second thing is we wanted to have consistent driving behavior. Even if the battery is getting empty, there should not be a perceived differentiation between the performance. We also worked a lot on the inconsistencies related to the temperature: the battery must always be in a perfect temperature window and the engine too.
Therefore my philosophy in this segment is that I don’t want to have more than 20% of the overall power output coming from electric power because otherwise there is a perception of a kind of different driving behavior that would be significant.
AW: How do you intertwine such an emotional driving experience with electrification, a propulsion method that is often deemed emotionless?
RM: Electrification adds performance and it has, from the pure objective side, also a lot of advantages. For the first time, we have both a high-revving engine, even higher revving than ever at 9500 rpm, and we can use the e-boost to have this instantaneous acceleration. We combined the advantage of the naturally aspirated engine, so we have the sound and also the power up top. But we have also enough torque on the low end, and this works in a very harmonious way that… feels like a bigger displacement naturally aspirated (engine). Our target was the driver should not recognize this as a hybrid. Except if you drive it in full electric mode, of course.
AW: You talked about electrification being about 20% of the overall functional powerband. Is that a philosophy that’s going to continue in the coming years? What do the next five years hold for partial electrification and Lamborghini powertrains?
RM: Under the current boundary conditions regarding battery capacity, battery range, and recuperation potential, you need to have control. You need to have as little battery capacity as possible in the car, but also a sufficiently high level for performance consistency. The battery size itself is depending on the chemistry, but also on the recuperation potentials. The cells are from the Volkswagen Group and are the highest power-density cells available, so… it’s not really a plug-in hybrid cell but it’s usually for 48-volt systems. Therefore, we have chosen an interesting concept, because we make recuperation not only on the front motor but also at the rear because we use the rear motor to avoid most traction-control interventions.
Additionally, we didn’t want to make a kind of hybrid drivetrain that sounds good on paper but that, in reality, is empty after one lap on the racetrack and then you cannot recharge. The plug-in option is nice because of the future potential for upgrades as well. Perhaps, if the battery technology is evolving, you can have more capacity and you can increase the electric range and you still have the plug-in option too.
AW: Lamborghini has said the waitlist for this car is now over two years long, so clearly the reception has been positive. However, did you worry about how customers would perceive this shift toward electrification?
RM: We started very early in the communication with our best customers. I think everyone was convinced once we explained the philosophy, but there were also people that were thinking ‘Oh, hybridization?’ because there are bad examples of hybridization. But we say, look, you have more power and more emotion. You also have an electric range that is not dramatically high, but at least it’s sufficient to exit your neighborhood.
Speaking about increasing the performance of the Aventador, it was a very emotional and characterful car. But from the performance level, it was not anymore, let me say state-of-the-art. Therefore, there were only three options. First, we could go to a turbocharged engine, but we didn’t want it because it’s part of our DNA to have the emotion and thrill of a high-revving naturally aspirated engine.
We could increase the revolution limiter closer to 12,000 rpm to ultimately increase the horsepower output, but that would entail increasing the displacement which doesn’t make sense because it’s already a huge engine. It can rev up like hell on the race track, but this isn’t so good for daily usage. From the reliability point of view, if you’re producing 10,000 cars that rev up to 12,000 rpm, it would be a lot of maintenance as well.
Therefore, the best thing was electrification.
AW: Another big change seen on the Revuelto is improved infotainment features. Can you talk us through the improvements and the choice to add a screen on the passenger side?
RM: We had to do something because you can always say in this kind of car, it’s not so relevant, but it’s not the truth. We really have the youngest customers in the supersport segment (especially in the Asian markets) with the overall age being less than 40 years old, so the people of this generation expect a minimum level of connectivity.
(Mohr shows how the screens work, and I notice how fast the motions register, but also how in-depth the graphics and details of the screen-displayed car are. Then, he begins swiping display modules from the center screen onto the dash-mounted passenger screen using his finger. He also explains that the previous Aventador wasn’t even set up with cruise control, though the Revuelto has adaptive cruise control, for all those cross-country Lamborghini road trips that we do.)
We wanted to do something for the passenger so they can also see a little bit of information. Here you see the speed and then the gear position. It’s a little bit cinematic. It’s a toy, but I mean the whole car is a toy too. You expect everything technology-wise to be here, but from the emotional point of view, you also see the performance.
AW: Seems like you all thought of everything then, huh?
RM: No, no (laughing). There is a point where you have to stop because now the car is on the market, but you’re never running out of ideas. But at least we took care of a lot of the experience that the driver is going to have, because our philosophy—even in the Huracan or Urus—we always try to surprise the driver in a positive way. We don’t want to be an artificial, decoupled brand.
Lamborghini always has to catch the driver and bring that driver a smile on their face. Because it’s not a car that you need to have or that you use for A to B. It’s always a special experience, and we are aware that our customers expect also this kind of ‘wow.’
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