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The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has banned two EV ads from Toyota and Hyundai over misleading claims on charging times and charger availability.

The Toyota ad on the car giant’s web page last year featured information about its bZ4X model. One section of text stated: “Making electric easy. …Three charging options offer flexibility – use rapid public charging to reach 80% charge in around 30 minutes* with a 150 kW fast-charging system, charge through a fast charging wall box which can be installed at home or plug into a socket at home.” The *asterisk linked to text which stated: “*Charging times subject to local circumstance. Rapid charging power ratings can vary by location.”

The ASA considered that consumers would interpret the claim “use rapid public charging to reach 80% charge in around 30 minutes with a 150 kW fast-charging system” in the ad to mean that the Toyota bZ4X would always achieve a battery charge from 0% to 80% in around 30 minutes when using a 150 kW charger. It noted that the claim was linked to text further down the page however, it considered it was unclear what “local circumstance” meant and how it was likely to impact on battery charging times.

The ASA acknowledged that the evidence provided by Toyota showed that, under standardised testing conditions (with a new battery and in a temperature-controlled environment with an ambient temperature of around 25 degrees centigrade) the battery could be charged from 0% to 80% in 30 minutes and 13 seconds using a 150kW charger.

However, it said various real-world factors such as battery temperature, ambient temperature and age and condition of the battery might affect the time it would take for a battery to charge to 80%. If any of those conditions were less than optimal, then charging times would likely take longer than 30 minutes.

A further limitation that was likely to affect whether consumers were able to achieve the claimed charging time was the availability of 150 chargers. The ASA considered that the average consumer may not have an awareness of the speed or availability of a 150kW charger in comparison to other chargers.

The ASA also questioned Toyota’s repeated use of the word ‘easy’ in relation to charging. It said that the average consumer was likely to form the impression that it was relatively straightforward to access 150 kW chargers throughout the UK in public places and it did not make clear that the provision of 150 kW chargers varied across the UK and was not available in Northern Ireland at the time of the ad.

Hyundai ran a similar ad campaign for its EVs using its website, a YouTube video featuring Chelsea FC players and a digital billboard in Piccadilly Square, to claim that its Ioniq 5 could be charged from 10% to 80% in 18 minutes from a 350 kW charger.

Again the ASA said Hyundai’s claims could be interpreted to mean that the Hyundai Ioniq 5 would always achieve a battery charge from 10% to 80% in around 18 minutes or less when using a 350kW charger. It also queried the availability of 350kW chargers as, at the time of the ad, there were just 37 ultra-fast 350kW charging locations in Great Britain, six in the Republic of Ireland, limited numbers in Wales and Scotland and none in Northern Ireland.

Both Toyota and Hyundai were told not to use the ads again and not to mislead the public about battery charging times.