The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK has ruled that both Hyundai and Toyota had misrepresented charging times in their electric car advertising campaigns.
Both automakers released ad campaigns in 2022 that, according to the ASA, contained false charging claims compared to real-world conditions – where battery and ambient temperatures and a lack of ultra-fast DC chargers lead to variations in charging times.
Toyota and Hyundai defended the claims, arguing that the ads were designed to develop and promote electric cars in the UK and aimed to address consumer concerns about charging times.
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The ASA said the complainants to the ad had assumed that charging an electric car across the UK and Northern Ireland could impose significant limitations on meeting the advertised charging rate requirement.
Both manufacturers say the ads were designed to educate customers about EVs and address concerns about charging time on longer journeys.
Toyota claimed that based on the bZ4x’s maximum charge rate, it managed to achieve an 80 percent charge in “around 30 minutes” when using a 150 kW fast charging system.
The brand also claims to have used “conservative” language when specifying the loading time and advertised the loading time as “about 30 minutes”.
In addition, ASA has been informed that, under certain circumstances, loading times may vary from what is stated on the website.
In January 2022, Hyundai launched a campaign for its Ioniq 5 model through a digital billboard, video and marketing brochure, stating the electric vehicle was capable of “charging from 10 percent to 80 percent in 18 minutes.” [a] 350 kW charger”.
The company also defended its campaign, saying it’s important manufacturers can promote charging times so customers can compare a range of EVs.
Hyundai provided ASA with internal factory tests for the Ioniq 5’s two battery options (72.6 kWh and 58 kWh – the latter is not offered in Australia).
According to the test results, the Ioniq 5 was able to achieve a 10 to 80 percent charge time of 17 minutes and 16 seconds with a 350 kW DC charger at battery temperatures of 22 and 25 degrees.
Hyundai claims the load time results were accurate and documented. However, the brand later admitted that promoting the claim in a YouTube video showing real-life conditions instead of factory conditions was an “oversight” and removed the video.
The brand acknowledged that there are a variety of variables that can affect an EV’s charge times, including battery temperature, ambient temperature and the age and condition of the battery – and acknowledges that actual results for individual drivers may therefore vary.
Based on ASA’s report, both Hyundai and Toyota also claimed that customers were aware that to meet charging claims they would need to use an ultra-fast charger – which was later found untrue by ASA.
Hyundai told the ASA that it is aware that motorists do not often have access to these chargers unless they are traveling far from home and acknowledges that most customers would choose not to load slower at home.
According to the Charge myHyundai website, there were 37 350kW ultra-fast charging stations in the UK and six in the Republic of Ireland at the time of the advert.
Toyota claims that at the time of publication, Zap Map showed 419 charging points in 134 locations in the United Kingdom, 30 in Scotland and nine in Wales that could support a maximum charging rate for its bZ4x.
The ASA concluded that both brands failed to provide their customers with contextual information on how they could realistically meet these fee requirements and concluded that the ads were unfounded and in fact misleading.
Both manufacturers have been instructed to remove the ads and ensure their future ads do not mislead customers about battery charge times.