2009 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4

2009 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4

First Ferrari frightened purists everywhere with news that it's designing hybrid electric systems for future Ferraris. Now competitor and fellow supercar maker Lamborghini is joining the purity parade.

Rather than the patent drawings that sparked the Ferrari kerfuffle, Lambo issued a text-heavy press release stating its intention to:

-  cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from its cars 35 percent by 2015

- cut CO2 emissions from its factory in Sant'Agata Bolognese by 30 percent next year

Carbon dioxide is the greenhouse gas emitted in automobile exhaust--and in the case of Lamborghinis, in copious quantities per car.

The factory reductions come from construction of a 1.4-megawatt photovoltaic solar power plant along with energy use reductions. The vehicle emissions may be a bit more challenging.

The company cites several areas for improvement:  lower vehicle mass, more efficient combustion, reduced friction, biofuels, start-stop systems (which switch off the engine when the car is stopped), and full hybrid-electric drivetrains.

Indeed, says the company, the 2008 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 included technical advances that cut its CO2 emissions by 18 percent. Over which baseline vehicle (the previous Gallardo?), the company neglects to mention.

The new position represents a significant change of heart by the raging-bull boys.  Just two years ago, Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann emphatically told TheCarConnection.com there would be “no turbo, no diesel, no hybrid" in future products.

But increasing pressure from European consumers and governments, along with numeric limits on greenhouse-gas emissions, are pushing every maker and model--from the smallest economy cars to supercars like Lamborghini--to cut carbon and go green.

Winkelmann's latest line: "Lamborghini is committed to its policy of environmental management ... We have ... set compulsory annual goals ... This is an important action for Lamborghini and a central opportunity for our long term ... development.”

As TheCarConnection points out, Lamborghini has access to hybrid technologies from the Volkswagen Group's parts bin. That company will offer hybrids as diverse as versions of its Volkswagen Golf hatchback and Touareg sport utility, not to mention the high-end Porsche Cayenne sport utility and new Porsche Panamera sedan.

The times, they are a-changin' ....

2005 Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder concept

2005 Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder concept

[SOURCE: Lamborghini press release]