Are these hydrogen and electric Toyota AE86s the way to protect classics? | Top Gear
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Are these hydrogen and electric Toyota AE86s the way to protect classics?

Toyota gives its drift legends new hearts in order to ‘protect’ them

Published: 16 Jan 2023
 

Toyota has revealed a pair of AE86s that, much like a Transformer, offer more than meets the eye. Both of these are not powered in the way you think, and here’s why.

Unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon, the two cars were displayed as exhibiting “carbon neutrality for protecting beloved cars” – Toyota’s way of protecting its heritage in a cleaner way than just ‘give it an oil change and some new spark plugs’.

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Speaking of spark plugs, the ‘H2 Concept’ (the one with the blue decals) does actually feature modified ones, along with better fuel injectors and fuel pipes, because it does actually contain the original 1.6-litre four-pot engine. The engine mods stop there, however.

Because the main thrust is the addition of a pair of Toyota Mirai hydrogen storage tanks, mounted in the back of the car. Toyota’s a dab hand at integrating hydrogen into its cars: last year it announced a collaboration with Yamaha to develop a hydrogen-fuelled V8. And the AE86’s exact setup was foreshadowed by a special GR Yaris back in 2021, matching that car’s 1.6 to a pair of Mirai tanks.

Speaking of tanks, the ‘BEV Concept’ features “electrification technologies cultivated by Lexus”. So the engine has actually been stripped, and in its place sits the electric motor used in Toyota’s other tank, the Tundra pick-up, along with batteries from the Prius. We’re assured the “AE86’s body, light weight, and front-rear weight balance were maintained as much as possible”.

What was also maintained is the manual gearbox. We know Lexus is working on one for its future BEV supercar, so Toyota is looking mighty serious about this whole ‘driving pleasure from electric cars’ thing…

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Elsewhere, both cars feature parts from aftermarket companies that contribute to their carbon-neutral ethos, including ‘rejuvenated’ used seats and seatbelt pads made from recycled materials.

Of course the AE86 is also privy to Toyota’s new-old parts programme too – in 2021 it was announced that the company would build a selection of brand new parts for the hachi roku, including brake calipers and steering knuckle arms to transform your beloved drift machine.

So which robot in disguise takes your fancy?

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