In 2022, production began for the 2023 Toyota bZ4X. While this wasn’t the first Toyota EV sold in America, it was the first built from the ground up to be an electric vehicle only, unlike the RAV4 EV, which was sold in select markets only and offered through 2014.
It was shocking to see Toyota, a brand that has written the book on automotive production, fuel efficiency, and longevity, essentially ignore the EV marketplace until the 2020s. Throughout all of the rough entries in the EV market from other brands, Toyota held back. The company sank as much research and innovation as it could into its first real EV, the bZ4X, hoping to evade the growing pains and headaches other brands have had to endure. Unfortunately, the bZ4X is experiencing significant issues, but Toyota is offering a solution.
An issue with the wheels
While the EV market has had its fair share of recalls over electric vehicle-specific technology and batteries, the current recall that the bZ4X is facing has to do with the wheels. According to a warning issued by Toyota, the bZ4X can have its wheels fall off while driving, even if it is being driven for a short time. Toyota has clarified that the bolts and nuts holding the wheels and axles together can loosen spontaneously, leading to disconnection while driving and significant crashes.
Even though this warning and recall issued by Toyota was published in June, Toyota still has not found a solution to the problem months later. This recall affects approximately 260 bZ4Xs that have been delivered and all of the current models that have been produced thus far that haven’t been delivered to customers.
While Toyota’s customer service history has always been great, their solution to this bZ4X problem aims to keep their customers happy while these cars get the recall fix they need. Toyota has issued a statement that Toyota is willing to buy back all bZ4X models from customers, both who have taken delivery and those waiting for their bZ4X to come off the assembly line.
According to CNN, Toyota is also offering customers who are committed to taking delivery of a bZ4X free access to another Toyota in their lineup to drive in the meantime while a solution is found. In addition, customers may also be able to accept a $5000 discount on their purchase, either in cash to credited to their loan for the car. Toyota also pledges to extend the car’s factory warranty to coincide with when a solution for this recall is found and implemented.
Preventing future issues
While it is disappointing to see Toyota’s first mass-market EV have troubles out of the gate, they are far from the first, with GM offering a similar buyback program for their Chevy Bolt EV, which recently was recalled for having battery fires. In GM’s example, a solution was found, and a recall was issued; customers could either get their batteries fixed for free or have their car bought back.
With many Americans skeptical of EVs, automotive companies must continue to implement generous recalls to keep the public optimistic about the electric future of the automotive marketplace. Until then, we hope that Toyota finds a solution to this safety issue soon.