Image: Hyundai UK

ASA (Advertising Standards Authorit) has issued Hyundai Motor UK a warning for a false advertisement which stated that its hydrogen-powered Nexo vehicle filters the air as it goes.

The complainant challenged whether the claim “A car so clean, it purifies the air as it goes” was misleading and could be shown.

Hyundai said that the NEXO was a hydrogen-powered car that generated electricity using a fuel cell. The oxygen was required for the fuel cell to work because contaminants in the air would harm the fuel cell. The air supply system is reported to be contained in the NEXO. Here, Hyundai showed how the components worked to filter the air.

This filter absorbed 97% of fine particles and gases, such as sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides. Even the humidifier and fuel cell helped with ultrafine dust removal. Hyundai says that, generally, the air purification technology traps harmful gases and 99.9% of very fine dust. Pure air was discharged from the system.

It can be concluded that the promise “purifies the air as it goes” does not reference typical exhaust gases because the car has an air purification system. Hyundai stated that the NEXO didn’t remove particles from the internal brakes and tires. However, they say the air sucked into the car may include particles from other vehicles as well.

The ASA thought that the claim “A car so exquisitely pure, it purifies the air as it travels” would be understood to suggest that the automobile itself had low environmental impact and that by driving it, no contaminants remained in the air. It had been noted that while the car would not emit exhaust fumes like a standard combustion engine, it would nevertheless generate particles due to brake and tyre wear.

“We acknowledged that there were air filtration systems in place within the Hyundai NEXO, which would filter the air before it was used in its hydrogen fuel cell. However, we understood particulates from brake and type wear would still be released into the air and would not necessarily be removed by the car, unless they happened to pass through its air filtration system. We understood that particulates from brake and tyre wear were a significant source of air pollution from vehicle use. Because we considered the claim “A car so beautifully clean, it purifies the air as it goes”, as it was likely to be understood by consumers, had not been adequately substantiated, we concluded the ad was misleading,” – ASA.

Nedim Husomanovic

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