The 2023 Toyota bZ4X’s wheels will stay on while driving after the automaker says it is in the process of fixing the safety issue that halted sales of the new battery-powered model for more than three months. Production of the EV has resumed and customers should start to receive their vehicles, which will come with four wheels that stay attached while traveling at a variety of speeds, apparently.
In June, Toyota issued a global recall for the bZ4X electric crossover SUV over hub bolts on the wheels that could come loose following a sharp turn or hard braking. It represented a major setback for the world’s largest automaker, which has pledged to spend $17.6 billion to roll out 30 battery-electric models by 2030.
The bZ4X, which had only begun customer deliveries two months before the recall, is the first long-range EV to be sold in North America and Europe. The Subaru Solterra, which is built on the same platform, was also affected by the recall.
The loose hub bolts forced Toyota to recall 2,700 bZ4X vehicles, approximately 260 of which were sold in the US. Starting this November, Toyota dealers will replace the loose hub bolts with newly designed ones with washers as well as install newly designed wheels. The remedy will be provided at no cost to the customer, but Toyota advises against driving the vehicles until they can be repaired.
“If a wheel detaches from the vehicle while driving, it could result in a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash,” the company said in a statement this week.
Previously, Toyota said it would throw in a few freebies in exchange for the inconvenience, including a $5,000 credit, an extended warranty, and free charging at EVgo-owned charging stations through the end of 2024 (assuming customers get their cars back by then). If an owner wasn’t satisfied with these options, Toyota said it would buy back the vehicle from customers. (The bZ4X was suggested to start at $42,000.)
The bZ4X recall came at a time of rising demand for EVs. Tesla continues to dominate the market, but legacy automakers are gaining ground with the release of midrange crossovers and luxury vehicles. Prices are increasing too, thanks to inflation, high demand, and the rising cost of key materials such as the minerals that comprise lithium-ion batteries.