Toyota Turned Its Beloved AE86 Into An Electric Concept You Need To See

The Toyota AE86 is one of the most iconic vehicles ever to wear a Toyota badge. It starred in the Japanese anime and manga series Initial-D. The car was easily tunable to whatever spec the driver wanted and since it was essentially a rear-wheel-drive Corolla, it was never egregiously expensive when it was new. 

Nearly 40 years after the vehicle first rolled off the line in the early 1980s, the popularity of the AE86 has never really waned. But as technology advances and trends change, newer cars are favored in the modding and racing scene. One such form of technology is the advent of more commonplace electric vehicles. The instant torque and quick acceleration of even the most basic EVs open up a new world of performance possibilities. At the 2023 Tokyo Auto Salon, Toyota is combining an old classic with new technology in the form of the AE86 BEV Concept.

Breaking out the classics

From the outside, the concept AE86 BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) does little to betray its high-tech drivetrain as it looks almost exactly like a 40-year-old hatchback from an anime. The exact specifications of the concept are not known yet, but according to a press release from Toyota, the AE86 BEV does in fact have a manual transmission, a feature that will make sportscar purists sleep soundly tonight. 

Interestingly, Toyota also says that the concept is made with existing off-the-shelf components that customers are used to including the battery from the plug-in model of the Prius, electric motors from the Tundra Hybrid, and more EV tech from Lexus. Unfortunately, this vehicle is only a concept and Toyota has not revealed any official plans to mass produce the battery-powered AE86. 

In the same display at the Tokyo Auto Salon, Toyota is also showing off a hydrogen-powered version of the AE86 dubbed the AE86 H2 Concept. That vehicle uses hydrogen fuel cells from the Toyota Mirai.