Toyota 86 EV running at Suzuka

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Toyota and project partner Subaru have gathered plenty of plaudits for their joint 86/BRZ sportster, but no one so far has described their performance as electrifying.

Both companies' cars have been among the great favourites of the aftermarket set, sometimes even to great effect. So it may not be surprising that while Toyota publicly baulks at joining the EV market in any way beyond dipping its toe in the water (a Tesla-powered all-electric RAV4 is set for limited release in the US for 2013), there appears to be no shortage of action from third-party suppliers and tuners.

In July, a team of Toyota’s own engineers turned up at Goodwood with an example of its iconic 1967 2000GT, lovingly restored with a difference. In what was essentially an after-hours exercise, they replaced the 2.0-litre straight-six engine with a 120kW electric motor with a lithium-ion battery pack part-charged by a solar panel set into the bonnet.

Now comes news of an electric FT86 (known Down Under just as the 86) coupe, largely care of Japanese electric propulsion specialist TGMY. In place of the 2.0-litre boxer petrol engine, the FT86EV uses a 75kW electric motor drawing power from a rear-mounted 37kWh lithium polymer battery pack.

Although it puts out less than half the wattage of the normal mill and, at 1460kg, weighs 200kg more, it makes up for it with a 20 per cent more torque, available instantaneously. The FT86EV puts its 240Nm of torque to ground through a four-speed manual transmission, pushing it to speeds of up to 200km/h.

On its first public run, it managed a lap of 2:57.06 minutes around the 5.8km Suzuka F1 circuit. By comparison, a 205kW Honda NSX makes it in 2:50.

TGMY and its partners say they will continue developing the car on the track.

Words - Jeremy Bass
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