Comments: I think that may void the warranty.

But but but...

All I gotta do to keep my '68 (or '95 Dodge or '99 Audi or '08 Cummins) throttle from jamming WOT is keep gifted bloggers with paper clips off of my hood while I'm driving.

And it's not just about the throttle. Any vehicle with a mechanically linked clutch or auto trans shifter can be stopped in an emergency, though the engine may self-destruct. The problem with Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive is that the electric motors that provide most of the motive force are connected, through gearing, directly to the drive shaft.

From the "Neutral gear" operating phase at the link above:

"Most jurisdictions require automotive transmissions to have a neutral gear that decouples the engine and transmission. The HSD "neutral gear" is achieved by turning the electric motors off."

That, friends, is subject to multiple electric/electronic failure modes. (And you believed them when they said "green tech" is safer than the way we did things in olden days!)

Posted by johngalt at March 9, 2010 3:03 PM

This may be considered too macabre for polite company but I'm sayin' it anyway:

James Taranto coined the term "Roe Effect" to describe how liberal-progressive beliefs can result in a reduced quantity of, liberal-progressive persons. I think I'm the first to observe how the "Prius Effect" does the same thing.

Posted by johngalt at March 9, 2010 3:11 PM

But but but, the Prius has not been involved in the "sudden acceleration" contretemps (until now).

Your point is interesting (does it really go 95 on 'lectric?) but does not disprove my contention that there's nothing going on here. Now that blood's in the water, every fool with a Toyota can get his own lawsuit or reality show by having a sudden acceleration incident.

Not to say the one guy's wasn't genuine, but I remain skeptical. (El Cajon is the "Longmont" of California, BTW. Just sayin'...)

Posted by jk at March 9, 2010 3:45 PM

I was commenting more on the risks of the design than on the veracity of recent claims. While only 2 Prius incidents have been reported I'm not so sure that none of the others were hybrids.

And I called it the "Prius Effect" because it was the first such hybrid and is the most recognizable model. It's also the one enviros are most likely to choose - probably because it's generally the least appealing.

Posted by johngalt at March 10, 2010 10:16 AM

Michael Fumento agrees with JK: The latest Prius guy is a hoaxer or an idiot. (Not mutually exclusive, mind you.)

I heard him on the radio today say that Car and Driver has yet to find a car whose brakes couldn't over power its engine.

Posted by johngalt at March 10, 2010 2:29 PM

Thanks for the link, JG. Fumento is the man.

This didn't smell right to me either. At first I thought, "Here's another idiot who doesn't know to push it in neutral," but he was TOLD THAT and yet ignored it. What about the woman who testified before Congress about her Toyota going out of control, yet not so badly that she had time to call her husband? She said she just wanted to hear his voice one last time. Riiiiiight.

From the start, I've been telling a friend that, yeah, there probably are a few genuine cases of a problem, but now everyone's jumping on the bandwagon. The next day, a housekeeper driving her employer's Prius experienced...ta-da! A stuck accelerator!

It's like the swine flu hysteria: a couple of students come back from spring break with the flu, and suddenly entire schools shut down because "hundreds of students complained about flu-like symptoms." On beautiful spring days, no less.

In the San Diego case, the pedal was physically stuck down, the driver said. He also claimed he reached down and tried to pull it back. But an article I saw yesterday very briefly mentioned that when the police examined the car, both pedals were in their resting position.


First, 90 mph on a Southern Cali freeway really isn't much faster than normal.

Second, the guy said he was passing a truck when the accelerator stuck.

Third, the cop was coincidentally in the area, or at least close enough for pursuit.

You don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to put it all together: the guy was speeding, saw a cop car or thought he saw one, and figured that "my accelerator stuck" was the way to get out of it, get his name in the news, and maybe get some cash from Toyota. The very moment that the mainstream news^H^H^H^Hpropagandists started the crap, every unscrupulous Toyota owner knew how to extort the company.

There was a guy in the Bronx who recently claimed his new debit card was stolen. A total of $7200 was drained from his account before he alerted Bank of America. His PIN would have also been necessarily stolen, because there were multiple ATM withdrawals. Surveillance cameras showed only that whoever it was wore a hood tightly drawn around his face.

I don't believe the guy for a second. New cards must be activated by calling a number, AND at the least entering the last four digits of your SSN. And if it isn't the phone number registered to your account, you'll probably talk to a live customer service rep and go through further verification. So unless he's had his SSN stolen, and other info to verify his identity, it's basically impossible for a thief to steal and activate the new card.

Bank of America initially refused to reimburse the guy, saying it had every indication of fraud by the customer. But they relented in the face of bad publicity, which was really too bad. Now every BofA customer requesting a new card knows what to do, see?

Posted by Perry Eidelbus at March 11, 2010 3:02 PM
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