Skip to main content

Lexus proudly persists with misleading EV attack ad

Back in May, Lexus was heavily criticized for publishing two misleading anti-EV video advertisements promoting Toyota’s hybrid and hydrogen technology. Now Lexus is at it again.

Toyota is widely known to be skeptical of electric vehicle technology. The company certainly doesn’t try to hide its disdain – a recent reincarnation of an old anti-EV ad by Lexus appeared in the September issue of Wired magazine.

Inside EVs reports that Steve Jurvetson, Tesla board member, posted an image of the print ad that Lexus took out in Wired magazine. Visit the link here to have a look at the advertisement; it depicts an electric vehicle charging station (clearly an Aerovironment DC fast charge model) with a circle describing the supposedly never-ending cycle of charging stress experienced by all EV drivers.

The ad also features an image of a Lexus hybrid as the “proven way forward,” and not-so-subtly implies that owning an electric vehicle means spending most of your time driving around looking for charging stations and then sitting in the vehicle for hours waiting for it to charge.

Of course, as just about any EV driver will tell you, most charging is done at home and is quite convenient. And though it may be frustrating to find public charging stations that don’t work, or charging stations that are blocked by inconsiderate ICE drivers, EV owners quickly learn to plan their trips to avoid the unnecessary hassle described in the ad. Oh, and then there is the fact that the rapidly growing network of DC chargers is capable of charging a typical battery in about a half hour.

Jurvetson included this statement:

“Wow. Toyota is the world’s largest car producer, and they are spending money on stoking fear of EV futures – better to stick with the “proven” path of burning fossil fuels in subscale engines with 25% efficiency. I wonder if their employees will look back at this with pride.”

We agree heartily with Jurvetson. Torque News reported on the previous Lexus EV attack ads back in May, which generated an outcry from the electric vehicle community at the misrepresentation of the EV ownership experience. Lexus apologized and removed the videos from their website, but was brazen enough to resurrect the controversial ad in print form.

There is no problem with Lexus promoting its hybrids. They offer great fuel efficiency without range restrictions, and Lexus has by far the most extensive lineup of hybrids. But the jabs at electric vehicle technology are clearly an attempt to negatively influence the perception of EVs.

Perhaps Lexus feels threatened by Tesla’s encroachment on the luxury market. Certainly the parent company, Toyota, has thrown its lot in with fuel cells and evidently hopes that battery electrics fail so that its hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have a chance at survival. But it is shameful that they have resorted to marketing reminiscent of political attack ads during campaign season. Never mind, though – the inexorable march of progress in the EV industry continues.


Rich (not verified)    September 1, 2014 - 7:20PM

What will end this debate is the march of Lithium Ion battery improvements. EV battery technology is just now getting off the ground.

TJ in Phoenix (not verified)    September 22, 2014 - 6:24PM

Okay, everyone seems to be missing the big picture in this silly debate. Where does the electricity come from? It's not like you can just plop down a magic charging station and get amazingly pollution and carbon-footprint free charging for your EV. At least the hybrids don't try to hide the fact that there are still fossil fuels involved - just less compared to a normal gasoline or diesel powered vehicle.

And, if you live in an area like Phoenix, AZ where your electric company thinks that your monthly bill should be based on some mythical lottery algorithm, the costs of charging things for a month will quickly drain your purse even more drastically than the large upfront purchase outlay.