The United Kingdom’s advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Agency (SAS), has banned two ad campaigns from EV makers Toyota and Hyundai over exaggerated claims on charging times and misleading claims on charger availability, according to The Guardian.
Toyota, the maker of the bZ4X, ran a campaign on its UK website that had the tagline “making electric easy,” claiming that the crossover could be charged to 80 percent state of charge (SoC) in about 30 minutes using a 150-kilowatt DC fast charger.
At the same time, the Japanese automaker claimed that drivers could “easily find rapid-charging points in a number of public locations,” especially in areas where “drivers were most likely to need them.”
Hyundai ran a similar ad campaign and used its website, a YouTube video featuring players from the Premier League club Chelsea, and a digital billboard in London’s Piccadilly Square, claiming that the Ioniq 5 could be charged from 10 percent to 80 percent in 18 minutes from a 350 kW charger.
However, the ASA received complaints that challenged the veracity of the charging time claims, which both companies admitted were achieved in perfect conditions. Furthermore, the claims about the easy-to-find and easy-to-use DC fast chargers across the UK were challenged.
The Guardian writes that Toyota based its statements about charger availability on a service called Zap Map, which shows where charging points are located but doesn’t filter out the exact location of 150 kW chargers. Instead, it only showed that there were 419 chargers at 134 locations across the UK, but only seven were in Scotland, two in Wales, and none in Northern Ireland.
As for Hyundai, its Charge myHyundai website showed that there were just 37 chargers capable of delivering 350 kW in Great Britain, six in the Republic of Ireland, “limited numbers” in Wales and Scotland, and none in Northern Ireland.
Both Toyota and Hyundai said their claims were not misleading as drivers were unlikely to need fast charging stints on short journeys and that they could use the more widely available slower charge points. But that wasn’t the point of the ad campaigns, was it?
“We concluded that because the ads omitted material information about the factors that could significantly affect the advertised charging time and the limitations in relation to availability … the claims had not been substantiated and were misleading,” the ASA ruled.
This is the first ban the UK’s ASA has enforced on electric car advertising claims.