Lamborghini Plans to ‘Go Really Crazy’ With Manual Torque Vectoring in EVs: CTO
The electric Lamborghini Lanzador has paddles behind the steering wheel—but they’re not for fake gearshifts.
Not to be one-upped by other luxury brands at Monterey Car Week, Lamborghini unveiled the all-electric Lamborghini Lanzador, a two-door crossover concept that will serve as the brand's first EV. As such, it's serving as a testbed for all sorts of wild ideas Lamborghini has for making its electric cars deliver the same emotional punch as a Huracan Tecnica—like repurposing steering wheel shift paddles to control torque vectoring on the rear axle for mid-corner yaw adjustments. Really.
In an interview with The Drive, Lamborghini's Chief Technical Officer Rouven Mohr explained the company plans to "go really crazy" with its control strategy for the Lanzador and future electric vehicles to hit those handling heights, far beyond the current conversations around faking manual-transmission shifts. "With electric torque vectoring and wheel speed control, you have greater possibilities for handling because it won’t have the time delay of combustion drivetrain," he said. "Now we can make it do what we want immediately."
And what Mohr wants to make cars like the Lanzador do is expand what people think of as the driving experience. Torque-vectoring axles and AWD systems are everywhere these days to help put a car's power down effectively—but so far, none offer the ability to control it manually in the middle of a curve like Mohr wants to do via wheel-mounted paddles.
"In one of the driving modes, you can modify with the paddles the torque vectoring of the rear on the fly," Mohr told The Drive. "So you’re driving in the corner, you pull the paddle, woof, you move torque from the inner side to the outer side. So you play with the yaw distribution. This is not possible in the combustion car."
Lamborghini has already retired from chasing crazy-quick acceleration times, something which EVs are already known for. Instead, the Italian marque made it clear that it would focus on the driving experience—namely handling—in its future cars. And putting more control over the car directly at the driver's fingertips is one way to do that. This means that the car will be able to make use of features like adjustable torque vectoring and rear steering in order to provide a wide range of adjustments.
"Our philosophy on the steering wheel is we have two layers," said Mohr. "Everything that is related to the driving experience is on the steering wheel. On this, we have two categories of manipulations. We have the dials that are influencing the setup of the car. And then with the paddles, we are thinking about functionalities that you can change the behavior in each corner several times because then you can really interact with the car in a different way."
Of course, repurposing paddle shifters isn't necessarily a new idea. Heck, automakers like Hyundai, Mercedes, and Toyota already use them to control regenerative braking intensity. The idea is to use all of the tech crammed into the Lanzador concept to make the driving experience more enjoyable and engaging without attempting to imitate gasoline engines. Mohr believes that imitating is simply being "second best."
"If you do this approach [of recreating ICE dynamics], you demonstrate that you are the best at imitating," emphasized Mohr. "You can only ever be the second best because you’re always imitating. This is not our approach. We want to find something that’s the next step, that’s differentiating the driving behavior."
The Lanzador is still technically a concept slated for 2028, but Mohr made it clear the production car is already under development, and Lamborghini really wants this on-demand torque vectoring to make it. Many enthusiasts dislike when car companies embed simulated ICE features in EVs. From engine noises to simulated gear shifts, car companies keep trying to reacclimate EV buyers to what they're familiar with—or perhaps are trying to make the transition a bit easier. Lamborghini recognizes that, but clearly thinks the best course is to just blow people away with the next stage of performance, as it's always tried to do.
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