The UK advertising watchdog has ruled Nissan made misleading claims about how fast its flagship electric car can be recharged, marking the first time a car manufacturer has been censured over charging speeds.
An advert by the Japanese carmaker said the new Leaf, which has a longer range than previous models, could largely replenish its battery capacity within an hour. But the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found that because topping up could take longer in some circumstances, the claims “had not been substantiated and were likely to mislead”.
While most electric cars are recharged at home, an increasing number will be charged at public charging points in coming years as drivers without off-street parking buy the models. Key to that will be so-called rapid chargers, which can revive a battery seven times as fast a typical plug socket in a home.
Nissan had advertised the Leaf as offering a “quick charge on the move”, and claimed drivers could get 80% capacity in 40-60 minutes from a rapid charger.
In a footnote, it added that the time would depend on the charger type, condition, the battery temperature, battery size and the air temperature on the day. However, three people complained that the car sometimes took longer than an hour to charge.
Nissan subsequently carried out a review and changed the advert’s wording to say motorists would “get from 20-80% charge in around 60 minutes”.
But the ASA said the changes were not enough, and upheld the complaints. “We considered that even with those amendments the ad was still likely to mislead, because the claim and accompanying footnote still did not clearly convey the degree of variability in the time that may be required to deliver a certain amount of charge,” it said.
Nissan said it was disappointed by the ruling but would respect the watchdog’s decision.