Toyota does a ‘Back to the Future’ on two AE86 units. For those not in the know, the AE86 was an extremely popular sporty compact vehicle that came in coupé, hatchback, and liftback form in the mid-80s. It also became an icon in popular culture as Takumi Fujiwara's tofu delivery car in the anime/manga series Initial D. But after 1987, Toyota shifted the Corolla's drivetrain layout from RWD to FWD, and it stayed that way up to the present.
In fulfillment of their commitment to protecting the environment and electrification, Toyota is showing that carbon neutrality is possible even for vehicles that are currently in use by customers, and that includes the beloved AE86.
Toyota used its decades-long expertise in hydrogen and battery technology to work some magic on a 35-year-old nameplate and the finished products were put on display at the recently concluded Tokyo Auto Salon in Chiba, Japan. In case you didn’t make it to the show, allow us to tell you all about it.
The first is the AE86 H2 Concept. It uses two Mirai (Toyota hydrogen-powered vehicle) fuel cell electric vehicle high-pressure hydrogen storage tanks mounted in the rear. Toyota is mum regarding other modifications, but they state that any changes “have been kept to the minimum, including the fuel injectors, fuel pipes, and spark plugs
The second model is the AE86 BEV Concept. This vehicle borrows electrification technology from Lexus and uses a balanced lightweight body. It mixes and matches different Toyota technologies by using a Tundra HEV electric motor, a Prius PHEV battery, and a manual transmission to deliver drive to the wheels.
Both models have rejuvenated used seats and seatbelts (including seatbelt pads) made from recycled materials.
Whether or not Toyota offers this conversion for old AE86 models as a standard service is still unknown. What we know for certain, many owners would love to have their units electrified (at the right price).