Fans of the famous flux capacitor in the 1985 movie "Back to the Future" will love the new Lamborghini.
The Italian automaker unveiled its fastest car ever Tuesday morning at the Frankfurt Motor Show — a geometric fantasy of speed and engineering called the Sian FKP 37. It is the company's first hybrid, following electrified offerings from Ferrari, Porsche and others. But unlike the other hybrids, which use batteries, the Sian's electric boost comes from a supercapacitor, which can put out huge amounts of instant power.
Combined with Lamborghini''s raging V-12 combustion engine, the Sian supercapacitor will give the car 819 horsepower and push it from zero to 62 mph in under 2.8 seconds. The top speed is 217 mph – hence the car's name, Sian, which means "flash of lightening" in the Bolognese dialect. The FKP 37 is an homage to Ferdinand Karl Piech. Born in 1937, he's the former chairman of parent company Volkswagen.
Lamborghini worked with researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop its new supercapacitor technology. Unlike lithium batteries, which store energy in chemical form, capacitors store electricity in an electrical field — like static collecting on a balloon. They can charge faster, have longer life cycles and are more durable than lithium batteries. Supercapacitors are three times more powerful than batteries of similar weight and three times lighter than batteries of similar power.
The drawback to capacitors is "energy density," meaning they need to be charged more often. But for the Lamborghini, which uses the electric boost for acceleration and to smooth the changes between gear-changes, it's the ideal short but quick power source. The supercapacitor recharges during braking, making charging easier.
The Sian has a starting price of $3.6 million. But even if you have the cash, you probably can't get one. Lamborghini instantly sold out of all 63 cars being produced.