The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the United Kingdom has ruled on both Hyundai and Toyota presented misleading charging times in an electric car advertising campaign.
Both carmakers published ad campaigns in 2022 which, according to the ASA, carried false charging claims when compared to real-world conditions – where batteries and ambient temperatures, as well as the lack of ultra-fast DC chargers, created variability in charging times.
Toyota and Hyundai defended the allegations saying the ad was designed to develop and promote electric cars in the UK, and was aimed at addressing consumer concerns around charging times.
The ASA said the complainant about the ad believed charging electric cars across the UK and Northern Ireland could have significant limits to achieving advertised charge rate claims.
Both manufacturers say the ad is designed to inform customers about EVs and is meant to help ease concerns about charging times affecting longer journeys.
Toyota claims that, based on the bZ4x’s maximum charging rate, it is able to achieve 80 percent charging consistently in “around 30 minutes” when using the 150kW fast charging system.
The brand also says it uses “conservative” language when making charging claims, using “around 30 minutes” to advertise its charging time.
It also tells the ASA charge times during certain circumstances may differ from the claims stated on its website.
In January 2022, Hyundai ran a campaign for its Ioniq 5 model on digital billboards, videos and marketing brochures stating the electric vehicle is capable of charging from “10 percent to 80 percent charging in 18 minutes using [a] 350kW charger”.
It also defended its campaign by saying it was important manufacturers could promote charging times for customers to compare various EVs.
Hyundai provided ASA with in-house factory testing of both Ioniq 5 battery options (72.6kWh and 58kWh – the latter not offered in Australia).
According to test results, Hyundai claims the Ioniq 5 is able to achieve a 10 percent to 80 percent charging time of 17 minutes and 16 seconds using a 350kW DC charger, at battery temperatures of 22 and 25 degrees.
Hyundai claimed the charging time results were accurate and proven, but the brand later admitted advertising the claim in a YouTube video showing real-world conditions rather than factory conditions was a “default” and removed the video.
The brand accepts there are a large number of variables that can affect charging times for EVs including battery temperature, ambient temperature and battery age and condition – and acknowledges actual results for individual drivers may therefore vary.
Based on reports from the ASA, both Hyundai and Toyota also claimed that customers would realize that to achieve charging claims, they would need to use ultra-fast chargers – which the ASA later found to be untrue.
Hyundai told the ASA it understood drivers would not have frequent access to these chargers unless traveling far from home, and acknowledged most customers would choose to charge more slowly at home.
According to the Charge myHyundai website there are 37 350kW ultra-fast charging locations in the UK, and six in the Republic of Ireland at the time of the advert.
Toyota claims the Zap Map shows 419 charging points in 134 locations in the UK, 30 in Scotland and nine in Wales capable of supporting the maximum charging rate for its bZ4x at the time of the ad.
The ASA found that both brands did not provide customers with any contextual information about how they could realistically achieve these charge claims, and ruled that the ads were unfounded and actually misleading.
Both manufacturers have been ordered to remove the ads and ensure that their future ads do not mislead customers around battery charging times.
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