At the Tokyo Auto Salon 2023, Toyota showcased their GR Yaris concept car as the centerpiece of their lineup. In addition, they also presented a pair of Corolla AE86 classics, which were retrofitted with carbon-neutral drivetrains.
The first concept car, named the AE86 H2 Concept, is powered by a hydrogen-burning internal combustion engine. The 1.6-liter inline-four engine has been minimally modified, with only changes made to the fuel injectors, fuel pipes, and spark plugs.
The high-pressure hydrogen storage tanks for the car have been sourced from the Toyota Mirai, one of the first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. This concept is inspired by Toyota’s hydrogen-ICE race cars that they developed for the Super Taikyu Series and the hydrogen-engine Corolla Sport models they raced in 2021.
Additionally, they have demonstrated a similarly-equipped GR Yaris H2 prototype in the World Rally Championship. Overall, this concept highlights the potential for classic cars to retain their internal combustion engines while also becoming carbon neutral.
The second concept car based on the Corolla AE86 is an all-electric version of the 1980s liftback. The internal combustion engine has been replaced with an electric motor from the Tundra hybrid truck, a battery from the Prius, and a manual transmission.
Toyota states that all the technology used in this concept was sourced from commercially available Toyota and Lexus models. The company claims that this electrified AE86 offers “even greater driving pleasure than the original” but there is no performance data provided. Both concepts also feature updated seats and seatbelts made from recycled materials.
The design of the concepts is similar to the original AE86, with the only difference being “H2” and “EV” decals on the side sills and quarter windows. The AE86 was first introduced in 1984 and was discontinued in 1987. It was available in both coupe and liftback body styles, shared underpinnings with the fourth-generation Toyota Corolla, also known as the E70.
The AE86 was popular in Group A, Group N, and Rally racing, and became a drifting legend in the 1980s. It is also known for being featured in the popular Japanese manga and anime series ‘Initial D.’ The AE86 was available worldwide with 1.6-liter four-cylinder engines.
The engine delivered 128 horsepower (later 118 horses) in Europe and Japan and 112 horsepower in North America. U.S.-spec models were fitted with a modified engine to comply with California emissions regulations.