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Ear to the Ground

Make It Three: Prius Brakes Could Spark Another Toyota Recall

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Posted on Feb 4, 2010
Flickr / Jyle Dupuis

The brakes on the 2010 Toyota Prius have prompted a U.S. government investigation and a possible third recall for the troubled automaker, if a report in Japan’s biggest business newspaper is to be believed.

The latest setback affects 270,000 vehicles.

The Prius’ brakes are a key feature of the car’s hybrid system and something of an engineering marvel. They capture heat from the friction of braking and transform the energy into electricity that can charge the battery.

The reported recall is the first that would reach the home islands, striking a deeper blow to the national pride of Japan, which has already been wounded by Toyota’s recalls.

Toyota has reportedly had success correcting the problem through a software fix. The automaker has not confirmed reports of a third recall.  —PZS

Sources: AP, BBC, Reuters

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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, February 6, 2010 at 7:03 am Link to this comment

Who needs to floorboard the gas pedal on streets in the
US?  And how much does a $2, stronger, return-spring on
the gas pedal cost?  $2 ? I have put one on several
cars, just to make the gas pedal harder to mash, and
thus increase gas mileage.
No gas pedal sticks with a strong return-spring.

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By Lil Poot, February 5, 2010 at 10:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Prius brakes don’t actually use heat from friction to charge the batteries. The kinetic energy of the car is used turn the drive motor(s) which are temporarily converted to generator(s). A generator offers resistance to rotation, and this drag helps slow the car. Google “regenerative braking.”

My understanding is that the problem was in the software that controls the process. Ford has apparently rewritten some of the software in its recently released Fusion hybrid for similar reasons.

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