Toyota Motor Corp. has recalled approximately 625,000 Prius hybrids worldwide because a glitch in the software can cause the hybrid system to shut down while being driven. The recall affects about 340,000 cars in Japan, 160,000 in Europe and 120,000 in North America. Toyota says there haven’t been any reported crashes or injuries. Similar software problems have plagued the Prius before, prompting the company to recall approximately 1.9 million Prius vehicles worldwide in order to correct the glitch.
The current software settings for the motor and generator control engine control unit, or ECU, and hybrid control ECU can result in higher thermal stress in certain transistors, the company said in a statement, which can cause warning lights to illuminate and send the car into a failsafe mode. “In rare circumstances, the hybrid system might shut down while the vehicle is being driven, resulting in the loss of power and the vehicle coming to a stop,” the company said.
About 109,000 model year 2012 to 2014 Prius V hybrids are affected by the recall in the United States, Toyota dealers will update the software for both the motor and generator ECU and hybrid control ECU to fix the glitch. The automaker issued a similar recall in February 2014 for about 1.9 million Prius vehicles manufactured between 2009 and 2014. They also had a glitch in the hybrid control system that could cause the vehicles to shut down while being driven, which the company said it planned to fix with a software update. This recall comes just days after the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced it had started looking into a driver’s claim of sudden unintended acceleration at low speeds in Toyota vehicles, which could affect more than 42,000 2009 Lexus ES 350 vehicles if a genuine defect is found.
The agency decided in May, however, that the company doesn’t have to recall up to 1.7 million Corollas over similar acceleration complaints. Toyota has already issued of millions of recalls over the acceleration defect, and won approval in July 2013 for a $1.1 billion settlement it reached with approximately 23 million customers.
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