Norway cracks down: Is “self-charging” a misleading way to pitch hybrids

The phrase “self-charging” has been quite the lightning rod among electric-vehicle enthusiasts—especially in Norway.

Toyota’s Lexus luxury brand has continued—there, and in the UK and elsewhere in Europe—to run an ad campaign describing its hybrids as such.

In this era of wireless charging for our personal devices and on its way to more cars themselves (in BMW plug-in hybrids, for instance)—or with solar becoming increasingly feasible—some of Lexus’ explanations about being charged when you’re ready and never needing to be plugged in are potentially confusing at the least.

What is a Lexus self-charging hybrid?

Despite wide-ranging pushback on social media—some of it suggesting, tongue-in-cheek, that the models must employ some sort of perpetual motion machine—Lexus has continued the campaign with its recent NX and UX hybrids.

Last month, Norway’s national Consumer Authority has stepped in about the campaign and presentation—finding that it is misleading to declare that the cars “produce their own electricity.”

The government agency, in a statement, found that [translated] it’s misleading to say that the electrical power in the hybrid battery is free, since the electricity produced by the car has gasoline consumption as a necessary condition. It issued specific advertising to be removed by December 20, and while it appears that mentions of free charging have been purged, as of January 25 Lexus is still advertising its hybrids on its Norwegian site as self-charging.

Read more: Green Car Reports

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