The Toyota bZ4X will be on sale again now Toyota has found a way to maintain the wheel doesn’t fall off. Toyota, which will resume production of its all-electric crossover on Thursday, has now added washers to its wheel hub bolts. Toyota will then resume sales on October 26 in Japan, with bZ4X sales in the US soon after, as Automotive News report.
Two months after debut Toyota bZ4X, the Japanese auto giant has issued a recall for its EV crossover because of a manufacturing defect that can lead to the vehicle’s wheels falling off. The recall stems from the high torque of the bZ4X’s electric motor and its effect on the EV’s wheel hub bolts.
These bolts are supposed to secure the wheel to the vehicle, but the bZ4X’s torque is actually more than what its wheels can handle; under certain driving conditions, such as sharp cornering or heavy braking, the bolt may become loose, and the wheel can be fully inflated.
To make matters worse, the weight of the EV battery pack added extra tension to the wheel hub bolts, making them harder to secure during sudden acceleration and deceleration.
Basically, Toyota just strengthened the mechanical connection between the EV’s wheel hub and its wheels, and is expected to apply the same process to all of its EVs in the future. That includes any electric vehicles that Toyota makes with other automakers, such as Subaru Solterra.
The June global recall affected approximately 2,700 Toyota bZ4X models and 1,600 Subaru Solterra models. In the US, there are 258 potentially involved models, although only two reports have been submitted confirming this defect. Toyota asked bZ4X owners to stop driving their cars and offered to buy back their EVs. It’s unclear how many owners heed the automaker’s announcement.
Toyota Chief Technology Officer Masahiko Maeda further explains the company’s misstep, adding that Toyota will be the one to decide on the matter:
It’s a shame to say we’ve done various reviews but we couldn’t detect the problem as we didn’t conduct the review on the premise that the quality of the wheel would be poor in the future. reviewer, […] We will respond firmly to regain trust in [safety] of Toyota vehicles.
Applying washers to the hub bolt seems like a simple fix, but Toyota doesn’t state the cost of the bZ4X recall. With so few cars involved, it might not be a lot, but it’s a step backwards for the company nonetheless. One that can cost Toyota in other ways – namely, buyer confidence. The company has been criticized for falling behind its competitors in the EV transition, and the recall over a safety issue is no longer ideal for the company’s modern EV launch.