What are Lamborghini supercapacitors?
Through work with Mitsubishi, Lamborghini has developed supercapacitors to provide a power boost to the already insane Lamborghini Sián FKP 37. What are Lamborghini supercapacitors and why are they important to the development of similar extreme performance cars?
Is a supercapacitor a battery?
The answer here is not so simple. Technically, no, a supercapacitor is not a battery, but it can function like one in many use cases. Capacitors are used in pretty much all everyday electronics. They store an amount of power typically for a brief amount of time. They can discharge, and more importantly, charge very quickly.
A supercapacitor is not a new technology, but they have taken a while to prove their use. Basically, it is a capacitor that still can be charged quickly, can store far more energy than a normal capacitor, and has a lifespan less than that of a normal capacitor.
The lifespan may sound like a major drawback, but actually, they still have a lifespan much longer than lithium-ion batteries. The typical lithium-ion battery can last for up to 1,000 charges and discharges, whereas some new supercapacitors can last for as long as 1,000,000 cycles.
There is one major drawback though. Supercapacitors still cannot supply the power output of a lithium-ion battery of equal size and weight. For now, this rules them out as an electric car option, but they can still find a place in hybrid vehicles as Lamborghini has proven with the Lamborghini Sián FKP 37.
What makes a supercapacitor ideal for hybrid supercars?
In a hybrid car like a Prius you can rely on slow charging batteries because you can simply carry more battery than you typically need to allow for the capacity you need for smooth operation, but we are not talking about a Prius here. For a supercar, you need something that’s light and provides just as much power as you need. To keep it light, you also need it to charge very fast. This means you need a supercapacitor, like the one in the Lamborghini Sián FKP 37.
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Supercapacitors enable near symmetric power flow, which means they discharge just as much energy as you put into them. In other words, when you brake, and those wheels recoup the energy back into the supercapacitor, that power, and all of that power, is instantly available to you. It’s a lightweight solution to getting an electric boost in your supercar.