Lexus has been caught in a lie by the Norwegian government. The offense was in one of its ads regarding a hybrid vehicle. In the ad, Lexus implies that the power for a hybrid battery is free of charge since the electricity that is produced by the vehicle has the consumption of gasoline as a necessary condition. Back up — what???
Lexus was basically claiming that the fuel or power for the vehicle was free. Even Tesla Superchargers charge something (unless you got free Supercharging for life or make a lot of referrals).
The ad is in Norwegian except for one phrase in English: “Self-charging hybrid.” We all know that hybrids are not self-charging. Even Teslas don’t charge by themselves — they need someone to plug them in. This ad implies that the hybrid uses the sun or some other way of charging itself.
Norsk Elbilforening reports that this isn’t a new problem. The Norwegian Electric Car Association investigated this in 2018 after receiving complaints. In that case, Toyota was marketing its hybrid with the claim, “Toyota hybrid — 50% electric without power.” Again, I am scratching my head at this. I had to translate the news page, so that quote could be off (sometimes Google Translate misses a word or two), but still, this implies that the Toyota hybrid is electric but doesn’t need power. If that’s the case, how does it run? On fossil fuels. But some people may have assumed something more magical.
According to the Consumer Authority, which is an independent administrative body with the responsibility of supervising measures in the market and seeking to exert influence on traders to observe the regulatory framework, these statements that “The hybrid that offers the power” and “In hybrids from Lexus always cost the power absolutely nothing” (again, the translations are not very smooth) make it seem like the power supplied to the battery is not only free but free of any costs to consumers.
Toyota’s claim is that these vehicles “produce the power itself; charges when you release the gas, when you slow down, yes even while driving.” The Consumer Authority says it’s misleading to give this impression that the electricity to power the hybrid battery is free of charge since the electricity produced by the car consumes gasoline as a necessary condition. The Consumer Authority concluded that this marketing was a violation of the law.
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