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by David Zalstein

Just shy of two million Toyota Prius models have been recalled globally in what is the biggest-ever recall of the current-generation hybrid car.

Relating to a fault with the Prius’ engine control units (ECU), Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) today announced the worldwide recall, which includes 5500 locally delivered models.

Affecting third-generation Toyota Prius hybrids built between January 2009 and February 2014, Toyota says the voluntary safety recall is due to a software fault that could result in high thermal stress of certain transistors within the hybrid system during high-load driving conditions – such as accelerating from a stop – potentially causing them to deform or become damaged.

“If this happens, various warning lights will illuminate and the vehicle can enter a failsafe mode,” a notice by Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. said.

“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.”

First reported in May of 2011 in the US, Toyota says it has received no reports of accidents or injuries associated with the recall issue.

The Japanese car maker says the repair involves a software update of the motor/generator control and hybrid control ECUs at no cost to owners, who are being notified by mail. In most cases, repairs should take less than an hour to complete.

Encompassing approximately 713,000 cars in North America, 997,000 in Japan, 130,000 in Europe and more across markets in Oceania, the Middle East, China and elsewhere, the recall is the biggest on record for the third-gen Prius.

The latest safety recall is the third major campaign for the current Prius, following a recall last June for a fault with the brake booster pump accumulator that resulted in 87,000 US vehicles and 1652 Australian cars to be recalled  and the February 2010 global recall of 397,000 vehicles for an anti-lock brake (ABS) software issue.

Expected to deliver claimed fuel consumption of 3.5L/100km and maintain a hybrid powertrain, the all-new fourth-generation Toyota Prius is due in 2015.

The Prius recall comes just three days after Toyota announced it will cease local production in 2017.




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