Lexus bashes electric cars (again) in new ad campaign

It’s no secret that Toyota prefers hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles to battery-electric cars, but if you didn’t know, just take a look at the latest ad for luxury brand Lexus.

Despite previous attack ads that ultimately warranted an apology from officials, Lexus is back at it, according to the International Business Times.

Running in print publications like Wired, the ads emphasize “range anxiety,” describing locating a charging station as a stressful hassle, and claiming the radio and air conditioning use will appreciably shorten a car’s range.

You don’t have to worry about any of that with a Lexus hybrid, the ads claim. Of course, that’s because the hybrid relies heavily on a gasoline engine, which is exactly what most electric car buyers want to avoid.


The new campaign follows one from this past spring that enraged electric car supporters. Lexus was forced to retract a video that claimed it takes an average of four hours to charge an electric car, and underestimated the capability of the current charging infrastructure, after fans and advocacy groups made noise.

Yet Lexus makes the same four-hour charging time claim in these print ads. While average charging times are still fairly slow – around three hours for many electric cars from a 240-volt Level 2 source – they aren’t quite that slow. With the proliferation of DC fast-charging stations, they’ll only get quicker.

Lexus says it’s just emphasizing the convenience of its hybrids. A spokesman told Autoblog Green that the ads are meant to show that driving a hybrid is exactly like driving a standard gasoline car.

It’s not surprising that a car brand that sells more luxury hybrids than anyone else would want to attack another type of green car. What is surprising is that Lexus is being so brazen, even after kicking the hornet’s nest of electric car advocacy once, and getting stung.