Safety Concerns Over Hybrid BrakesPosted February 10
To add to the problems facing Toyota over the sudden acceleration safety issue which has been widely reported recently, there are now increasing concerns over the safety of their regenerative brakes on U.S. hybrid models.
Initially thought to be a problem restricted to Japan, customer complaints relating to this issue are rapidly rising in the U.S. The problem is being reported as partial or total brake failure when pressing the brake pedal. It almost always seems to be an intermittent problem which has made it more difficult for dealers to identify and fix. Most customers report the brake pedal travelling all the way to the floor when trying to apply the brakes with either no or inadequate response.
There have been more than 100 complaints to date about the 2010 Prius brakes but there have also been a number of similar complaints about the 2010 Camry hybrid. In addition almost identical stories have been reported about the 2010 Ford Fusion hybrid pointing to a possible more widespread failure of the technology.
Lets hope Toyota and the other hybrid car makers fix this problem quickly and effectively. Besides being one of the most frightening failures a car can have, manufacturers need to reassure the public that this new technology is safe in order for it to have a bright future. Just how scary it is to have brake failure in a car is highlighted by just one of the complaint reports:
'WHEN I APPLIED THE BRAKES THE CAR DID NOT SLOW DOWN AS I WOULD HAVE EXPECTED. THIS SAME BEHAVIOR HAS OCCURRED IN THE PAST SEVERAL MONTHS SINCE I'VE OWNED THE PRIUS 2010 MODEL. BY THE TIME I WAS ABLE TO STOP, THE AIRBAGS HAD GONE OFF AND I HAD HURT MY NECK AND BACK. IT IS A NEW VEHICLE THAT NOW HAS ALMOST $14,000 DAMAGE AND WON'T BE FIXED FOR A MONTH.'
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