There is a war brewing between people in the automotive industry who support fully-electric vehicles like the Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf, versus those who believe that hydrogen-powered vehicles are the real wave of the future. In many ways, it’s like watching a group of little boys fight over whether Superman or Batman is the best superhero ever, only there are some real stakes involved in this fight. Lexus got caught up the fray recently, thanks to some anti-electric car attack ads that look like they could have been released during an election year. The problem is that some of the claims made in the ads were just plain baseless, and pro-electric car groups called the luxury line and its owner, Toyota, out on it.
So what points were the Lexus ads attacking? Claims that it can take up to four hours to charge an electric car, which depending on the car and the charger being used, is true. In fact, it can take over twice that long. The problem is that in the ads a DC fast charger was shown being plugged into a Nissan Leaf, and the pro-EV crown went nuts. They also were upset because no mention of the fact that most EV owners charging their car at home while they sleep was made. Whether you think the information about EV charging was misleading or not likely depends on how you feel about EVs.
Where Lexus definitely crosses the line was in an ad that stated that twenty states have an “established infrastructure” for refueling hydrogen-powered vehicles. The fact is that there are only a handful of stations, most of them owned by automakers, with the vast majority located in California. The ad goes on to state that fossil fuels are burned to produce electricity, but make no mention of how electricity is used to make hydrogen fuel.
Lexus quickly took the ads down from its website and issued a formal apology for twisting the facts, although it did not use such language in the apology.