Two Lamborghini cars
Two Lamborghini cars.

Lamborghini’s next flagship supercar — the LB48H is a limited-run successor of the Aventador and will incorporate supercapacitors (although i’m not sure how). Possible uses for supercapacitors in a car include, but are not limited to:

Powering The Starter Motor

Supercapacitors are especially well-suited to provide large bursts of power in short time periods (they can discharge all their energy in a few seconds or less, depending on the model). They can achieve this repeatedly without getting hot, something that lead-acid batteries struggle to do.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be able to start your LB48H more times per charge. It just means they are durable enough to supply large currents. Starter motors have their own limitations and will still get hot too. The lifespan of the supercapacitors is one of the key benefits here. The others are the possibility of weight reduction and more power.

How could that be? Don’t supercapacitors have a lower energy to weight ratio than lead-acid batteries? They do, but their power-to-weight ratio is sufficient for a lightweight, small supercapacitor bank to power a starter motor.

A lead-acid battery must be of a high capacity in order to supply the current required for a starter motor. This is because lead-acid batteries can only discharge a small portion of their energy at any given moment.

Supercapacitors Aren’t Ideal As Accessory Batteries

If you wanted your supercapacitors to replace your lead-acid battery entirely to power your stereo, fan, lights, among other things they would have to be much bigger (obscenely large and heavy).

A potential remedy might be a small lead-acid accessory battery for the stereo (and everything else) and a small bank of supercapacitors just for the starter.

Supercapacitors Are Useful For Regenerative Braking

If Lamborghini was using the supercapacitors to store energy from regenerative braking, then that wouldn’t be surprising. Regenerative braking systems need to dump large amounts of recovered energy into an energy storage medium in a matter of seconds.

Supercapacitors handle this far better than batteries (in general) do, as batteries get hot and are put under great stress if charged at such a high rate. Supercapacitors can do this efficiently, with less wear-and-tear.

The current Lamborghini Aventador uses a supercapacitor to power its stop/start system and starter.