Houston Press "Investigates" Safety Record of Toyota Prius

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by Danny, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. Bob Allen

    Bob Allen Captainbaba

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    Wait a minute. Shouldn't we be just a little concerned about overspeeding and/or sudden stops? Obviously, the Prius is new technology; before we get all hyper defensive, we might consider the possibility that there is some truth to these allegations. It would appear that the number of reported incidents measured against the total number of Prii on the roads is pretty small, but that doesn't mean there's no problem. As with parachutes, one failure is all it takes. Much as I love my car, I don't think it serves us and the public at large to make the Prius a sacred cow.

    That said, I would feel more comfortable with the Houston article's assertions if there were corroborating reports from some neutral technical source with nothing to gain from any negative observation about Prius.
     
  2. randyb359

    randyb359 Member

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    I remember that. The government investigated and determined it was "peddle misapplication"
     
  3. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    What we have is an intermittent problem with no data record to analyze. The failed vehicles have failed to replicate the problem in any sort of controlled conditions. But that doesn't mean it isn't a real problem.

    My expectation is that shifting into "N" will completely defeat any run-away Prius condition. However, shifting into "N" with a run-away vehicle is not part of the approved driver's education courses or Prius operator instructions. So far, no one with the 'presence of mind' to shift into "N" has reported running this experiment.

    The hypothesis of carpet interference and possible stepping on the wrong pedal remains viable. Apparently this failure mode, the 'carpet jam' can be replicated but many of the reports remain mixed upon either having occurred.

    We can speculate but that is not action. We can sympathize but again that is not action. The only action that makes sense is to petition the Department of Transportation to advocate use of "N" when a vehicle "runs away." At least then we have a chance of getting a vehicle in this state and documenting the floor mats and other controls. Fully qualified Toyota service staff might even be able to take measurements to help fault isolate the problem.

    Intermittent problems are the most intractable. But so far, I see nothing we can do other than I'll train my wife to shift into "N" if it 'runs away.' (Of course I'll have to rig up a separate accelerator control to perform "the test.")

    Bob Wilson
     
  4. moner

    moner New Member

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  5. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Pathetic, what a Qioxotic character.

    The Consumer Reports, April 2009 pretty well nails the Prius as top dog followed by Consumer Reports "Best & Worst for '09". Yet this poor kid keeps tilting at windmills. He really deserves a job at Fox.

    Bob Wilson
     
  6. Bob64

    Bob64 Sapphire of the Blue Sky

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    My car speeds up on its own every day.... when I'm driving down a steep incline!
     
  7. FL_Prius_Driver

    FL_Prius_Driver Senior Member

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    Yes, we should always be concerned about any possibility of unsafe engineering. The focus in on what is the right method for investigating potential problems. Whose responsibility is it and what is the proper actions?
    1) Issue massive recalls every time someone reports a incident?
    2) Start a funded government investigation every time a news reporter reports or fabricates a story?

    I remember very clearly that the Audi incidents that made headlines many years ago actually had very close the same rate of "unintended accelerations" as any other vehicle. (I did not know that for a long time.) What was noted on the Audi was that the brake and gas pedals were a fraction of an inch closer together than average and this correlated with all real evidence.

    To me, at this very, very late stage in the Prius development, seeing if there is any statistically evidence is the first step, lacking any other real evidence (which appears to be the case). If there is none, what really is the justification?.... the fact is that every car everywhere has the same problem reported at some time.....(see my earlier comment about guns.)
     
  8. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Having gone back to college and observing the type of material that ends up in our college newspaper I am not the least bit surprised to see this garbage printed in a public newspaper. :rolleyes:

    I see this as only one step removed from the BS written in the "Dust to Dust" report or the drivel written by Mr. Chris Demorro. I often wonder why these people are so driven to pit Americans against each other because of the choices they make in life. Are they just reading too much Ann Coulter?
     
  9. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    Yes
     
  10. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    I want to try an experiment but I don't want to do it with my car.
    Mash the accelerator to the floor then mash the brake pedal and see which wins. I doubt the prius will keep going.
    I once saw the results of a Nissan going through a shop window because when the driver (an elderly woman) pressed the "brake" pedal the car took off across a main road. The owner of the shop turned off the key and told the woman to take her foot off the accelerator. He saw her foot still firmly planted on the accelerator!

    I have limited experience in snow, only a 2 way journey from Chicago to Detroit and back where FireEngineer drove both ways. I noticed the most common car to see in the ditch was 4x4 vehicles, followed by rear drive vehicle and there were 2 semi trailer trucks in the deep snow on one section. I did see a front drive car or 2 in the snow bank but no Prius. Did all these vehicles have auto-acceleration issues too?

    I never had a tattoo before but this(devil Toyota) might be my first, tempting!
     
  11. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    I've done that to both my Prius and my FJ: brake wins, hands down, whether at highway speed or at a stop

    As a further plus, mash the brake pedal and accelerator pedal on the FJ at a stop, you get a lot of special effects from the rear tires
     
  12. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Agreed! I figured this out the 1st day I bought my Prius. No self respecting racer would purchase a car and NOT try to do a brake stand just to see if it could.... The Prius can't. :D
     
  13. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Pure speculation but is it time to separate the brake and accelerator?

    Instead of having the brake pedal adjacent to the accelerator, relocate it to the far left so left foot brakes and right foot accelerates. Yes, there is a risk of 'riding the brake' while driving down the road, an 'idiot' light or the Tom and Ray solution (aka., a mechanical hand that comes out and bitch slaps the driver) comes to mind.

    My other thought is a single foot control that integrates the accelerator and brake. Push down stops but to accelerate, the driver lifts their foot back. Think of the accelerator pedal being mounted on the brake arm but flipped 180 degrees. As the driver rocks their toe back, the car accelerates:
    • PUSH - to stop
    • PULL - to go
    This completely eliminates the ambiguity where one push is stop and another push is go.

    Bob Wilson
     
  14. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    Bob, idea 1 leave nowhere for the clutch and would result in more accelerator brake overlap.

    Your second idea has my shins cramping just thinking about it.
     
  15. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    Well, now with black boxes becoming ubiquitous on passenger vehicles - thanks to ambulance chasing scumbag lawyers - perhaps we can lay to rest the "unintended acceleration" thing once and for all
     
  16. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    Well, it's not like you'll break anything trying a brake stand just once

    And if you DO break something trying a brake stand just once, that vehicle was so cheaply made it wouldn't have held up anyway ...
     
  17. zenMachine

    zenMachine Just another Onionhead

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    Some car makers are using the brake pedal as a way to power accessories such as air conditioning and the process of recharging. The energy processed from the driver pushing the brake is also being used to start the motor. This method is utilizing all possible ways to produce energy from the driver without taxing comfort ability and the driving experience.

    The 2010 Toyota Hybrid Prius actually uses this technic by allowing the driver to pump the brake pedal twice to start the engine.

    2010 Hybrid Automobiles To Offer Advanced Hybrid Battery Technics

    (huh? really???)
     
  18. HTMLSpinnr

    HTMLSpinnr Super Moderator
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    No... you press the brake and press the power button. No power generation happens with brake pumping when powered off. Sounds like an April Fools joke to me, or one rather ignorant reporter who didn't check his/her facts.
     
  19. FBear

    FBear Senior Member

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    This guy is another shill for the Detroit auto industry. He is an idiot from what I read until I got disgusted with the drivel. There is not a car made today that you can not stop with the brake system that it was built with. Toyota is correct it is driver error not unintended acceleration. I would bet him his salary that I could not make a the Prius or any standard road worthy passenger car of his choosing stand still while I pressed both the brake pedal and the gas as far to the floor as they would go.
     
  20. Dan.

    Dan. MPG Centurion

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    Yes... Micheal and I were both rather miffed it turned into a hack job. We talked to Paul in good faith and had no idea at the time that his story would take this tilt, but then again you never really know how these things will turn out.

    I truly regret having my name in that drivel...

    Very very sorry guys :(

    11011011
     
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