TOKYO (Reuters) -Toyota Motor Corp said on Thursday it would recall 2,700 of its first mass-produced electric vehicles (EVs) because of a danger that wheels could come loose.
The world’s largest automaker by sales submitted the recall of the bZ4X SUVs to Japan’s transportation ministry. Of the 2,700 vehicles, 2,200 were earmarked for Europe, 260 for the United States, 20 for Canada and 110 for Japan, the company said.
Japan’s safety regulator said sharp turns and sudden braking could cause a hub bolt to loosen, raising the risk of a wheel coming off the vehicle. The regulator said it was not aware of any accidents being caused by the defect.
The safety regulator said it was advising drivers to stop using the vehicle until a more “permanent” repair measure was in place.
The recall comes less than two months after Toyota, a relative latecomer to the EV market, rolled out the electric SUV, bZ4X, to the domestic market, albeit as a lease only option.
Toyota has been criticised by some investors and environmental organisations for not acting quickly enough to phase out gasoline-powered cars and embrace EVs instead.
Toyota has repeatedly pushed back against the criticism, arguing the necessity to offer a variety of powertrains to suit different markets and customers.
Gasoline-electric hybrid models remain far more popular in Toyota’s home market than EVs, which accounted for just 1% of the passenger cars sold in Japan last year, based on industry data.
Still, the market is growing fast and foreign automakers including Tesla Inc are making visible inroads on the streets of cities such as Tokyo.
(Reporting by Satoshi SugiyamaEditing by David Goodman and Jane Merriman)