Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann has never been a fan of hybrids. He's dismissed them in the past and said they had no place in Lamborghini's current lineup. That makes this week's unveiling of the Asterion a 910 horsepower case of cognitive dissonance. And in an interview in Paris, it's clear he still doesn't want anything to do with electricity.
Our pal Brett Berk chatted with Winkelmann and brought up his distain for hybrids.
"We're still not interested [in hybrids]," he laughed, going on to describe the vehicle as "a technological demonstrator" meant to address legislative pressure to reduce carbon emissions as filtered through the emotional and passionate pillars of the Lamborghini brand.
Winkelmann went on to state the obvious: that the Asterion isn't meant to be a competitor to the Porsche 918, LaFerrari, or McLaren P1, instead calling it more of a "hyper-cruiser". But even with that caveat, he has no intentions of building it.
"I strongly believe that this is not a car that will be in production and we will not do it," he said. Though he did suggest that elements of the hybrid technology could find its way into Lamborghini's potential third model, an SUV, where, as he said, it would be "easier in terms of packaging–the extra weight percentage-wise in a vehicle like that is less relevant than on a light car like the super sports cars."
Would he sell a one-off to someone with enough cash? Of course. But he'd rip out the hybrid system and stick with the V12 pulled from the Aventador.
But more than anything else, Winkelmann comes across as downright angry that his company went through the trouble of engineering a hybrid system that he has no interest in selling. And worse, throwing it into a design that he and his team adores.
"We're a bit pissed, I have to say, because everyone is asking me [about the design], and I love it too," says Winkelmann. "I would do it immediately. Without this system."
Head over to Maxim to read the rest of the Berk's interview. It's truly bizarre; an acting CEO dumping on something his company poured tens – if not hundreds – of millions of dollars into developing the very same day it was revealed.
UPDATE: Maxim has since "updated" their article to remove the "without this system" section from one of Winkelman's quotes. The quote now reads:
Winkelmann brightens at this idea of using the Asterions gorgeous design to build something more like a traditional GT. "We're a bit pissed, I have to say, because everyone is asking me [about the design], and I love it too. I would do it immediately." Presumably, without the hybrid system. Either way, we want one.
UPDATE 2: Lamborghini has released a statement clarifying Winkelmann's remarks, which we're posting in full, below:
We wish to use this opportunity to make a few clarifications regarding your piece titled "Lamborghini CEO 'Pissed' Because He Loves The Asterion, Hates Hybrids.'
Mr. Winkelmann is not disappointed at all regarding the Asterion, but rather enthusiastic about the beautiful design that debuted in Paris and highlighted the new hybrid technology. Our enthusiasm for this concept is tempered only by the unlikelihood of its production.
We at Lamborghini are always looking ahead, investing in new technologies and setting new benchmarks, delivering the unexpected. That is why we presented the Asterion as a technology demonstrator.
To significantly reduce emissions at this moment, plug-in electrification is the best option for us, because for Lamborghini such a car must still provide a truly emotional driving experience. Furthermore, we have always said that due to the expected weight increase of a hybrid solution, it makes sense in a larger vehicle (for example, the SUV which we presented as a concept in 2012 and which is being evaluated for series production.)
For all current Lamborghini super sports cars, we firmly believe that addressing power-to-weight ratio via weight reduction is the best way to achieve efficiency while preserving the brand's DNA.
We continue to focus on weight reduction as a means to reducing CO2, for example through the investment in carbon fiber engineering, which also contributes to our quest for the best super sports car handling and performance. As a result, we are continuously working on decreasing vehicle mass, but also on combustion improvements, friction reduction, implementing start-stop systems, hybrid drivetrain solutions and biofuel research.
The Aventador and the Huracán demonstrate perfectly how lightweight technologies provide a significant step towards CO2 reductions. Each successive product generation has reduced CO2 emissions significantly while our factory will be CO2 neutral by 2015. It's our position that hybrid technology would only be brought in when it's right for the brand and for our clients.