Toyota finds wheel, air bag fixes for recalled electric vehicles

Toyota Motor Corp. confirmed Thursday it is restarting production of its first electric vehicle, three months after potential safety issues halted sales of the battery-powered model.

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Toyota, Japan’s largest automaker, recalled 2,700 bZ4Xs in June after regulators determined that sharp turns and sudden braking could cause a hub bolt to loosen, raising the risk of a wheel coming off the vehicle.

According to CNN, only 260 bZ4Xs had been delivered to customers before the recall was announced.

Meanwhile, Toyota spokesman Aaron Fowles told the network that in addition to the bolt issue, a supplier that made the wheels for the electric SUVs did not make them precisely according to the automaker’s specifications.

In a Thursday filing submitted to Japan’s transportation ministry, the automaker vowed to make certain that hub bolts are replaced and properly tightened in new versions of the electric model.

“No one should drive these vehicles until the remedy is performed,” the company stated, noting that remedy parts are being prepared with a goal of “offering the remedy for customer vehicles by November 2022.”

“For all subject vehicles in the U.S., the hub bolts will be replaced with newly designed hub bolts with washers and the wheels will be replaced with improved ones. The remedy will be provided by Toyota dealers at no cost to the customer.” Toyota stated.

In the same filing, Toyota said that it has fixed a previously undisclosed issue with the bZ4X’s improperly installed air bags that had been at risk of failure or causing injury due to the placement of an internal strap, Reuters reported.

Masahiko Maeda, Toyota’s chief technology officer, told a briefing that the automaker only became aware of the air bag issue in the past month or two, according to the news outlet.

“We apologize again for the concern, anxiety, and inconvenience we have caused to our customers, our dealers and our stakeholders,” Maeda said.

Toyota committed about $30 billion in 2021 to developing electric vehicles and expects the company’s annual EV sales to reach only about 3.5 million vehicles by the end of the decade, or roughly one-third of current annual sales of its gasoline-powered cars, Reuters reported.

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