The Japanese Ministry of Transportation has now asked Toyota to investigate its new third-generation Prius model after complaints from owners of potentially faulty brakes. This news comes as Toyota currently has recalls out for millions of vehicles (not including the current Prius) which are mostly for two separate recalls. The first recall for 5.1 million vehicles is for floor mats that can cause the accelerator pedal to stick, while the second is for 2.3 million vehicles where Toyota has now said that over time the accelerator pedal could become stuck or slow to return to its “off” position.
In the sticking pedal recall, Toyota has said that the issue is mechanical and not electronic, but some individuals have refuted that claim and, most recently, Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, commented publicly that his 2010 Prius suffers from unintended acceleration that is caused by the car’s software.
Toyota has admitted to receiving complains about braking issues in the Prius and a quick look at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, returns 102 complains, most of which cite a loss of braking ability when driving on rough roads. One complainant says she was injured in a crash when the brakes on her Prius failed. The Japanese transportation agency has on record 14 reports of braking-related complains with the Prius.
Toyota’s Prius does not use the same pedal mechanism as found in the other recalled models, but rather uses a more complex system of regenerative braking to recharge the onboard battery. Such regenerative brakes feel much “grippier” than traditional brakes.