Toyota recalling nearly 2 million Priuses due to software glitch

The software issues could cause a loss of power in the popular hybrid vehicles

Toyota is recalling nearly 1.9 million Prius hybrid vehicles around the world in order to fix a software glitch that could damage transistors and cause a loss of power.

Some 700,000 of the Priuses are in the U.S., according to a news release. Another 997,000 are in Japan, 130,000 in Europe and the remainder in other places around the world, according to media reports. Toyota didn't immediately respond to a request for confirmation of those details on Wednesday.

Toyota plans to tweak software in the Priuses for the motor/generator ECU (engine control unit) and the hybrid control ECU. The current settings "could result in higher thermal stress in certain transistors, potentially causing them to become damaged," Toyota said. "If this happens, various warning lights will illuminate and the vehicle can enter 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."

Toyota is also recalling about 260,000 2012 RAV4 compact sport utility vehicles, 2012-2013 Tacoma trucks and 2012-2013 Lexus RX 350 SUVs in the U.S., the company said Wednesday.

Toyota will apply an update to skid control ECU software on cars in this recall to fix an "electronic circuit condition" that could cause the vehicles stability control, anti-lock braking systems and traction control function to shut down intermittently, Toyota said. However, in the event of such a failure the standard brakes will still work, according to the company.

No accidents or injuries have been reported in connection with the software problems, Toyota said. The software update will be applied free of charge at local dealers.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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