Lamborghini is all about horsepower and torque, top speeds and acceleration. After all, what else would you expect from a manufacturer of super sports cars with a charging bull on its logo? At the same time, however, Lamborghini is all about fuel efficiency and respect for the environment as well. This is because we see luxury and responsibility as going hand in hand.
It is a sunny fall day in the town of Sant’Agata near Bologna, where Francesco Scida and Gian Luca Ciani are climbing onto the roof of Lamborghini’s production facility. The two engineers would like to take another close look at the modules of the photovoltaic system which, a few weeks from now, will feed solar energy into the power grid for the very first time. Francesco Scida looks up at the blue sky and smiles. “We have done the calculations dozens of times. With an annual average of 2,000 hours of sunshine in the Bologna region, our system will generate around 1,582 megawatt hours of renewable energy per year. Not even a few cloudy days would make much of a difference.”
CLEAN SOLAR ENERGY
This is good news for the ecological balance sheet of the plant – which boasts one of the largest photovoltaic installations in Italy with a surface area of 17,000 m2 – as it enables Lamborghini to replace around a fifth of its conventionally-generated power through electricity from clean solar energy, thereby reducing annual CO2 emissions by some 20 percent per year from 2010 onwards. “Photovoltaic systems have a very promising future,” declares project manager Ciani, who will probably be overseeing the next solar energy plant project: In 2011, the roofs of two large company parking garages may also be fitted with solar modules, cutting CO2 emissions by a further nine percent.
“The photovoltaic system was clearly a milestone for us, but is by no means our last environmental project,” says Lamborghini environmental expert Massimo Scarpenti. Last year, the carmaker implemented energy-saving measures such as heat insulation for production halls, hot air circulation systems and new intelligent heating, cooling and lighting systems, all of which helped bring down CO2 emissions by ten percent. The company also plans to invest a million euros in a “trigeneration plant” next year. This combined heat, cooling and power plant has an extremely high efficiency. By burning natural gas, it produces electricity for use on location. At the same time, the waste heat is used to produce hot water or steam for heating or – with the aid of an absorption cooling unit – cold water for cooling plant and administrative buildings. “This system is at the cutting edge of environmental technology,” explains Scarpenti proudly, “and it can help us to lower our CO2 emissions by a further ten percent.”