Everyone knows bees play a key role in maintaining ecosystems with nearly 80 per cent of plants depending on pollination by insects, and about a third of fruit and vegetables dependent on pollination by bees. But few know of an automobile company that engages in beekeeping or bee farming? Not only bee farming, but also growing oak forests, recycling materials used in car manufacturing and setting up biogas plants for generating thermal energy. 

No doubt that Italian luxury super car brand Automobili Lamborghini has been manufacturing gas guzzling super sports cars for almost six decades, but it is also a fact now that the company must be one of the few in the world, which work on multiple environmental sustainability programmes.

In May 2021, Stephan Winkelmann, President, and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini, announced the “Direzione Cor Tauri” (Toward Cor Tauri) programme that will lead the House of Sant’Agata (birthplace of Lamborghini) along the road to decarbonisation of its future models and offsetting of CO2 emissions at the Sant’Agata Bolognese site, based on the holistic approach of its environmental sustainability strategy. 

The ‘Green’ print

Cor Tauri, Lamborghini’s roadmap, will consist of three phases – Celebration of the internal combustion engine (2021-2022) by presenting models paying tribute to the recent period of sustained success for the company. 

“In the wake of steady sales growth and a seven-fold increase in turnover over the last 15 years, Lamborghini has established itself on the automotive scene as a centre of excellence in producing the best super sports cars,” Winkelmann said.  This current phase will be characterised by the development of internal combustion engines for versions that pay tribute to the brand’s glorious history and its iconic products past and present. In 2021 the company also announced the launch of two new cars in the V12 model lineup – the Aventador Ultimae and the Countach LPI 800-4. The year 2022 will be the last year for the company to manufacture the V12 engine, he noted.

The second phase is the transition into hybrid (by the end of 2024). In 2023, Lamborghini will launch its first hybrid production car, and by the end of 2024, the entire range will be electrified, he said. Performance and the authentic Lamborghini driving experience will remain the focus in technological developments by the company’s engineers and technicians, and the application of lightweight carbon fiber materials will be crucial in compensating for the weight due to electrification. 

The company’s internal target for this phase is to cut its CO2 emissions in half by the beginning of 2025. Driving the hybrid transition will be an unprecedented investment – more than 1.8 billion Euros allocated over four years, Winkelmann announced. “This is the largest investment in Lamborghini’s history, and tangible evidence of the strong sense of responsibility with which the company plans a concrete response, through significant innovations, to the period of profound transformation that is affecting the automotive industry as a whole,” he said.

Electric roadmap

In the third phase, the company will bring in first full electric Lamborghini (second half of the decade) -- the final acceleration of the second part of the decade will be under the banner of full electric with the vision of a fourth model, he added. This is how Lamborghini sees the end point of its journey: Cor Tauri, the brightest star in the constellation to which the company’s roadmap points, is represented by a fourth fully electric model. 

Talking about recycling, which is a big part of the sustainability efforts, he said “it is not a big issue for Lamborghini because 80 per cent of the cars produced in the last 59 years...it (recycling) already exists.” Lamborghini’s programme toward 2030 starts from a holistic vision of the company’s sustainability strategy -- a 360-degree approach that spans from the products to the Sant’Agata Bolognese site, and from the production lines to the offices. 

The company explained that the 1.60 lakh square metre area achieved CO2-neutral certification in 2015, which was maintained even after the production site was doubled in size in recent years. In addition to reducing CO2 emissions, environmental protection, sustainability in the supply chain, attention to employees and corporate social responsibility are integral parts of this strategy.

Low carbon footprint

The company also noted that for over a decade, Lamborghini has reinforced its environmental policy on climate by adhering to a voluntary commitment in line with government policies on the Kyoto Protocol and the European Union’s “Climate and Energy Package”. Talking about the biogas plant, Winkelmann said that Lamborghini is the first automotive company in Italy to have a district heating system, which annually supplies 25 lakh kWh of thermal energy, equivalent to the annual energy required to heat 156 apartments measuring 100 square metres. 

This system distributes hot water throughout the factory from a biogas-fuelled co-generation plant located about six km away in Nonantola, through a network of underground pipes. The hot water (at 85°C) produced by the plant is carried through underground pipes to the facility. Here, the thermal energy supplied is used for air-conditioning in the production departments and offices. “Lamborghini chose to use the energy generated by a co-generation plant that would otherwise have been lost. Savings in terms of emissions total around 1,800 tonnes of CO2 every year,” he added.