Lamborghini has acquired a license for a new organic battery technology developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that offers a potential breakthrough in high-capacity, fast-charging batteries, reports TechCrunch.

Traditional lithium-ion batteries, even advanced ones, still have limitations, particularly in terms of charging speed and the use of expensive and problematic materials such as cobalt and nickel. Researchers are exploring alternatives, and one promising candidate is TAQ, a unique organic compound.

TAQ, or bis-tetraaminobenzoquinone, is composed of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen. Its structure, a series of three connected hexagons, resembles graphite, which is commonly used in battery anodes. TAQ is distinguished by the fact that it forms almost flat sheets due to hydrogen bonds, which allows for efficient layering and storage of lithium ions.

This new material boasts an energy density 50% higher than that of common nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) lithium-ion batteries. Unlike other candidates, TAQ does not dissolve in the two commonly used electrolytes, which increases its durability and practicality.

TAQ was discovered by Tianyang Chen and Harish Banda in the laboratory of MIT professor Mircea Dinke, who collaborates with Lamborghini. The hypercar maker, which has already used a supercapacitor from Dinke’s lab in its Sian model, sees TAQ as a great potential for electrifying its lineup. TAQ offers a greater energy reserve, durability and fast charging capability, which is crucial for high-performance vehicles.

TAQ can also significantly reduce battery costs. The estimated cost of a TAQ cathode is approximately one-third to one-half that of an NMC cathode, which could potentially reduce current battery costs by 10-15%. However, realizing these savings will require changes in battery manufacturing processes, which is challenging given the significant investment in existing technologies.

Geopolitical factors may also affect the spread of TAQ. China currently dominates the cathode supply chain and has significant control over nickel, cobalt, and manganese production. TAQ could allow countries with the necessary expertise to produce cathodes on their own, reducing dependence on Chinese-controlled supply chains.

While TAQ represents an exciting opportunity, especially for high-end products such as Lamborghini, for which it is easier to pass on the additional costs to the end user, its path to widespread market adoption will be difficult and fraught with obstacles. TAQ cars on the mass market are still a distant prospect.