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1.9 Million Toyota Prius Recalled for Software Glitch

Toyota Prius Recalled for Hybrid Control System Software Update
Toyota Prius Recalled for Hybrid Control System Software Update

No injuries or accidents have been reported at this time, but some 1.9 million Toyota Prius hybrid electric vehicles are being recalled to address a software problem.

The Toyota Prius that are covered by the recall were manufactured between March, 2009, and February, 2014, covering some 1.9 million vehicles around the world. The software glitch affects the Hybrid Synergy Drive control system, and may illuminate warning lights, reduce driving power, damage transistors in the power unit, or even stop the car. Fortunately, no accidents or injuries have been reported due to this glitch, but drivers should be aware of the possibility.

Toyota Motor Company is developing a software update to address the Toyota Prius hybrid control system, which will require owners to bring their vehicles to a Toyota service center for updating. In my experience, some of these software updates can take up to an hour, or more, which can be quite an inconvenience, especially if Toyota Prius owners live far from a dealer.

The inconvenience of bringing your Toyota Prius to an authorized Toyota service center, for what amounts to a computer reflash, really highlights the benefits of advanced automobile connectivity solutions. Toyota already has some systems with online connectivity, such as realtime traffic reporting for the GPS system, or streaming internet radio. Toyota hasn’t gone so far as to integrate powertrain connectivity, such as that employed by Tesla Motors.

The last Tesla Motors software update was released over the air (OTA), requiring nothing out of the ordinary for Tesla Model S drivers. Considering that vehicles are becoming more connected, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more OTA software updates coming from other manufacturers, perhaps even on a future Toyota Prius? On the other hand, might powertrain connectivity open the door to those with malevolent intentions?

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