A genius move? Toyota to upgrade older cars with zero-emissions drives – Technology Org

Toyota showcased two remodeled cars upgraded with zero-emissions powertrains, aiming to attract interest from the mass market.

AE86 H2 Concept (hydrogen-engine vehicle) and AE86 BEV Concept (battery electric vehicle).  Image credit: Toyota

AE86 H2 Concept (hydrogen-engine vehicle)
and AE86 BEV Concept (battery electric vehicle). Image credit: Toyota

This could be a far-reaching strategic move as Toyota apparently seeks to gain appeal among the owners of existing petrol and diesel-powered cars, including fans of classic models. The company even designed a matching slogan: “Toyota: Leaving no car lovers behind.”

The decision to retrofit older vehicles with non-polluting drivers could have positive consequences from the perspective of global ecology. Buying a new hybrid or fully electric car may still be too expensive for many car owners, while a cheaper option of replacing its engine could be just what they need.

Yesterday, Toyota demonstrated two zero-emission versions of its 1980s sports cars at an event dedicated to customized cars in Chiba, east of Tokyo. Here, the Japanese company introduced two cars from the AE86 generation. One model was modified as a battery-electric vehicle, while another was remade as a hydrogen-engine model.

Here's what the AE86 engine compartment looks like after converting it to a fully-electric model.  Image credit: Toyota

Here’s what the AE86 engine compartment looks like after converting it into a fully-electric model. Image credit: Toyota

Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota, said in his speech that remodeling existing cars must be explored as one of the ways to reach the goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050. This is vital for the Japanese market, too, because here is only one in about 20 cars, or about 5% of all vehicles on the road are new. Most older models are powered by diesel or petrol.

“It’s important to leave a choice for cars that are already loved or owned by someone,” said Toyoda.

Toyota entered the mass electrical vehicle market relatively recently in comparison to other manufacturers. However, the company has ambitious plans: it will invest $70 billion to electrify its vehicles and ramp up the production of batteries. Its current goal is to sell at least 3.5 million battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in 2030.


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