Lexus is up to its old tricks again. The Toyota subsidiary has drawn ridicule from the EV industry in the past for running highly misleading ads touting the superiority of its hybrids over pure EVs – one trashed the BMW i3, and another inexplicably claimed that EV drivers needed to wait around for their vehicles to charge.
Now Norway’s Consumer Authority has found a recent ad campaign for the Lexus NX to be misleading. According to Norsk Elbilforening (EV Norway, via Tesmanian), several consumers have complained about Lexus’s description of its NX model as a “self-charging hybrid” in ads that appeared in various magazines and newspapers. The ads claimed that the vehicle could charge for free because of its regenerative braking feature – essentially making it a perpetual motion machine.
“Lexus and Toyota market their hybrids heavily as self-recharging, without notifying the customer that all energy used for recharging comes from the combustion of gasoline…This is purely [a lie],” read one of the complaints. “As a Lexus owner, I pay dearly for this stream through the gas bill.”
“The power supplied to the batteries during regeneration (including deceleration by releasing the gas)…comes from the motion energy generated by an internal combustion engine,” pointed out another scientifically literate consumer.
Norway’s Marketing Act prohibits marketing content with false or misleading information. The Consumer Authority found that statements such as “In hybrids from Lexus, the power [always costs] absolutely nothing” falsely lead consumers to believe they could charge the NX’s battery at no cost, and concluded that the Lexus ads were deceptive, and in violation of the Marketing Act.