On the heels of the largest motor vehicle recall ever, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will begin an investigation of complaints about problems with the brakes on Toyota's Prius. The recent Toyota recalls due to faulty gas pedals and floor mats involves eight models and millions vehicles.
Co-Founder of Apple Lodges Prius Complaint
Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, Inc., says his Toyota Prius accelerated on its own when he used the cruise control - up 97 miles per hour. In frustration, after attempts to alert Toyota and NHTSA with no results, Woziniak leveraged his fame and created a media blitz on Tuesday, including an appearance on CNN. Toyota engineers now want to borrow Woziniak's Prius to help identify the problem.
The Prius, a hybrid sedan, one of Toyota's most popular models and leader in hybrid sales, uses a regenerative brake system designed to use the energy from the wheels to recharge the car's batteries. This technology is the foundation of electric cars and hybrids by significantly increasing fuel economy, especially in stop-and-go traffic. Problems with this technology could mean a major setback for Toyota, which is in an already precarious position.
There have been 111 Prius complaints reported to NHTSA and 14 complaints in Japan involving the brakes and/or sudden acceleration in the 2010 Prius.