Takumi's new old car: Toyota presents EV conversion for AE86 with 6MT, plus a hydrogen-burning one
Sanjay · Jan 13, 2023 01:31 PM
"Leaving no car lovers behind" is Toyota's precept behind their exhibition at the ongoing 2023 Tokyo Auto Salon. Slightly sentimental, yes, but the proof of that is in seeing their cars of yesteryear make it to today's show – exemplifying that is this pair of concept AE86s; one fuelled by hydrogen (H2), and the other, pure electric (BEV).
Carbon neutrality through old cars
First, a bit of background. Toyota Motor Corporation's (TMC) outlook on carbon neutrality doesn't solely tunnel on new EVs, but also includes the development of carbon neutral fuel (CNF) alongside hydrogen, for older and new cars alike.
The reasoning is that greater positive impact can be had if the older cars (which new cars cannot outnumber, per the slide above) are carbon neutral, instead of forcing everyone to dump them and get new EVs at the outset.
Majoritively, these technologies are studied through racing (via President Akio Toyoda-owned ORC Rookie Racing), though road-going advancements have been made.
Modifications have been kept at a minimum, encapsulating just the fuel pipes and injectors, as well as spark plugs. We're just as excited as you are to know the outputs, but those figures aren't made clear just yet.
Japanese media on ground says that this car still uses port injection. Though this insistence results in lower power (direct injection allows for high pressure and greater control of air/fuel mixture, resulting in more power), the goal is to maintain the engine's high-revving character.
Yet that's certainly not without its benefits. Masahiro Sasaki, who races the hydrogen-powered GR Corolla, says he can still "feel the AE86's high-revving feeling."
If you've heard a 4A-GE pull, it's something you probably won't want to sacrifice. Hence, its why his testament is a good start as any, and improvements to this technology is worth waiting for.
Toyota Corolla AE86 EV Concept
Lexus' boffins have had their work cut out for this project. Batteries and all their ancillaries are heavy, but in order to keep the Levin as the lightweight, donut-making liftback people love it as, some creative thinking and parts-bin raiding had to be done.
To make the AE86 BEV, parts from other models in TMC's stable were used. Juice comes from the battery of a Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid (PHEV), mated to an electric motor from the Toyota Tundra pick-up truck.
Takashi Watanabe, Chief Engineer of Lexus Electrified, says the three pedal format doesn't have to die in the age of green propulsion. In fact, Lexus has been toying around with manual EVs with the UX300e, in which there's footage of a 6MT variant of it driving around (skip to 14:30 in the video below).
“There is nothing more engaging for a passionate driver than to be able to shift gears manually for the right amount of torque at any time. It has delivered so much fun that this project is now under serious development. It might even be featured in our future BEVs,” he said.
Besides their carbon neutral powertrain, both cars use sustainable items where possible. The Bride bucket seats are used albeit refreshed, while the seatbelts and their pads are made of recycled materials.
Though these cars might be imperfect at this point of time, they provide a clear vision: the future Toyota sees is one where the car you grew up with can be with you in the years to come. Just much cleaner.
With humble beginnings collecting diecast models and spending hours virtually tuning dream cars on the computer, his love of cars has delightfully transformed into a career. Sanjay enjoys how the same passion for cars transcends boundaries and brings people together.