Mounting reports are indicating the Toyota Prius is also affected by unintended acceleration - but faulty pedals and floor mats have nothing to do with it.
With 'PedalGate' sweeping the globe, mounting reports are indicating the Toyota Prius is also affected by unintended acceleration - but faulty pedals and floor mats have nothing to do with it.
So far, about 100 complaints (two involving crashes) have been filed with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In Japan, the transport ministry has logged at least 14 complaints of acceleration-related problems with the Prius.
The case getting the most attention is Steve Wozniak's (Apple's co-founder) Prius. During a speech at the Discovery Forum, Wozniak said "I have many models of Prius that got recalled, but I have a new model that didn't get recalled. The new model has an accelerator that goes wild but only under certain conditions of cruise control. And I can repeat it over and over and over again safely." In a later interview with CNET, Wozniak stated "This is software. It's not a bad accelerator pedal. It's very scary, but luckily for me I can hit the brakes." Despite attempting to contact Toyota and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for three months, he was unable to get either organization to look for a software-related defect - until now.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has finally begun looking into a possible software glitch which could cause the Prius to accelerate unintentionally. According to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, "We're not finished with Toyota and are continuing to review possible defects and monitor the implementation of the recalls." While he didn't elaborate, several government sources have stated the review will include a look into possible electronic problems.
Despite the concern, Toyota is down-playing reports about a potential software problem. In an interview with Automotive News, Toyota spokesman John Hanson said "After many years of extensive testing, we've found no evidence of an electronic problem that could have contributed to unwanted acceleration. We've investigated many times and found no evidence to point to." His statement was echoed by Toyota's vice president of quality, Shinichi Sasaki, who added "We have not come across any case in which we have found a malfunction. But if any additional reports arise, we will conduct testing using all technology at our disposal."
However, many people aren't buying Toyota's explanation. Consumers have fled Toyota showrooms and the U.S. Congress has called the company to testify before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee for investigations.