Hot car: Toyota built a hydrogen-powered classic
Toyota is going back to the future.
The automaker has revamped two of its iconic sports cars with modern power units.
The 1980s AE86 was sold in the US as the Corolla Sport, which helped popularize drift racing.
He is also the star of the comic and anime series “Initial D,” which featured a moving transport driver and introduced the sport to fans around the world.
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Toyota converted AE86s to run on electricity and hydrogen. (Toyota)
Toyota president Akio Toyoda, an avid racing driver himself, unveiled the new customs at the Tokyo Motor Show.
The AE86’s four-cylinder needed minor modifications to burn hydrogen. (Toyota)
One features the AE86’s original 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine converted to run on hydrogen with only a few modifications.
The AE86 is one of the brand’s iconic sports cars. (Toyota)
Toyota has been a leading advocate of hydrogen as a zero-emissions alternative to battery electricity, both in combustion engines and used in fuel cells that generate electricity.
“Many automakers are targeting a shift to battery EVs around 2030-40. However, the reality is that we cannot achieve zero carbon emissions in 2050 simply by switching all new car sales to EVs ,” Toyoda said. “It’s important to provide options for beloved cars that someone already owns.”
Toyota has also built a Corolla Cross that can run on hydrogen. (Toyota)
Toyota is testing hydrogen-burning engines in semi-trucks and has also built several other concept vehicles, including a GR Corolla sports car and Corolla Cross SUV.
It is also developing a hydrogen-fueled V-8 in collaboration with Yamaha.
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The other AE86 is a pure EV, however, and uses the electric motor from a Tundra hybrid and the battery pack from a Prius Prime plug-in hybrid.
The AE86’s electric motor comes from a Tundra hybrid. (Toyota)
Toyota also took the unusual step of pairing the engine with the AE86’s five-speed manual transmission. Most EVs drive the wheels directly and don’t require multiple gears, but Toyota wanted to make sure the car remained as fun to drive as the gasoline model.
Toyota designed the AE86 EV to use a five-speed manual transmission. (Toyota)
“The clutch operation and shifting can still be enjoyed,” Toyoda said.
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“There is a carbon neutral path we can take as car lovers. We don’t want to leave any car lover behind.”
Gary Gastelu is the automotive editor of Fox News Digital.