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I was thinking about getting a Prius in the near future but now I am rethinking. Please help/confirm something.
What has changed my mind. While Toyota's stuck accelerator situation did not concern me at first since it is very remote and my natural instinct would be to put a car into neutral if it happened anyway, so there is no risk of a run-a-way car to me.

But after thinking about my test drive of a Prius I have two related concerns:

(1) Can one put the Prius into neutral while it is driving:

Unlike traditional cars, I do not think there is a mechanical link between the gear selector and the transmission. Instead it seems to be an electronic selector that just sends a signal to the gearbox, in which case it might be designed so that even if you select neutral, it will not send the signal to the gearbox to switch to neutral while the car is driving.

Please confirm if you are able to put the Prius into neutral while you are driving.

(2) Can one turn the Prius off while driving:

Since it has no key box to kill ignition, I am not sure the Start/shutdown button would work while driving. So I am concerned that even as a last resort, there might be no way to kill the "engine" (quotes since hybrid engine/power.)
Please confirm if one can kill the motor/drive operation will driving.

Again, I think the stuck accelerator problem is very rare, but if 1) and 2) are as I suspect, that is a concern to me.
 

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9nines said:
(1) Can one put the Prius into neutral while it is driving:

Unlike traditional cars, I do not think there is a mechanical link between the gear selector and the transmission. Instead it seems to be an electronic selector that just sends a signal to the gearbox, in which case it might be designed so that even if you select neutral, it will not send the signal to the gearbox to switch to neutral while the car is driving.
Yes. When you try to shift into anything other than 'B', the Prius goes into Neutral. I have freaked someone out by attempting to shift into Reverse at high speed. The car just goes "BEEP BEEP" and shifts into Neutral. This applies for both 'shifting', and pressing the 'Park' button. ('B' = Engine Braking, the Prius equivalent of 'L' in a normal automatic transmission car. And 'P' isn't a 'gear you shift in to', it's a separate button from the shifter. The parking brake is still a physical cable that pulls on the physical brakes, though.)

This is what happens when going above about 8 MPH. Below that, and it will shift into park or reverse while moving.

9nines said:
(2) Can one turn the Prius off while driving:

Since it has no key box to kill ignition, I am not sure the Start/shutdown button would work while driving. So I am concerned that even as a last resort, there might be no way to kill the "engine" (quotes since hybrid engine/power.)
Please confirm if one can kill the motor/drive operation will driving.
This one I have not tried. According to a thread on the other main Prius forum, if you hold the button down for 3 seconds, it will power the car off. I would imagine it puts the car into Neutral at the same time. It sounds from others' experiences that it shuts off the drive system, but leaves you with power-assist for steering and brakes still. Maybe I'll try this in the parking lot at work tomorrow.

Also, contrary to Hyperion's implication, the brakes *ARE* connected to physical hydraulic brakes. It's just that this function is only at the 'end' of the pedal travel. If you floor the brake pedal, then it doesn't matter what current driving situation the car is in, even if the computer has gone completely haywire, you *WILL* engage the brake pads hydraulically. And, like I said above, the parking brake is a physical cable link to the rear brake drums, just like every other car out there. (Well, some go to brake pads on rear-disc brakes, but you get my meaning...) -- The Civic Hybrid works the exact same way, by the way Hyp. When you push the brake pedal just a little, it uses solely regenerative braking; when you push further, it engages the hydraulic brakes.

No reason to avoid the Prius on these concerns any more than avoiding hybrids in general because of the high-voltage lines.
 

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(1) Can one put the Prius into neutral while it is driving:

Unlike traditional cars, I do not think there is a mechanical link between the gear selector and the transmission. Instead it seems to be an electronic selector that just sends a signal to the gearbox, in which case it might be designed so that even if you select neutral, it will not send the signal to the gearbox to switch to neutral while the car is driving.
We did this exact test you described going about 40 mph. To be fair to the test (a 2010 Prius II), we kept foot pressure on the accelerator as if the car was doing a "run-away". All you need to do is bump the shifter knob quickly to the left (or directly towards you, the driver) and the drive-train is instantly disengaged. So if the engine was still racing, you can stop normally. Then once safely stopped, press the Power button to shut everything down.
We spoke with a Toyota dealer about this and they said there is a safety feature when you apply pressure to both the accelerator and the brake simultaneously, the system will shut down. But who drives like that? I drive with one foot so in a pinch, that would not be my natural instinct.
 

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I was thinking about getting a Prius in the near future but now I am rethinking. Please help/confirm something.
What has changed my mind. While Toyota's stuck accelerator situation did not concern me at first since it is very remote and my natural instinct would be to put a car into neutral if it happened anyway, so there is no risk of a run-a-way car to me.

But after thinking about my test drive of a Prius I have two related concerns:

(1) Can one put the Prius into neutral while it is driving:

Unlike traditional cars, I do not think there is a mechanical link between the gear selector and the transmission. Instead it seems to be an electronic selector that just sends a signal to the gearbox, in which case it might be designed so that even if you select neutral, it will not send the signal to the gearbox to switch to neutral while the car is driving.

Please confirm if you are able to put the Prius into neutral while you are driving.

(2) Can one turn the Prius off while driving:

Since it has no key box to kill ignition, I am not sure the Start/shutdown button would work while driving. So I am concerned that even as a last resort, there might be no way to kill the "engine" (quotes since hybrid engine/power.)
Please confirm if one can kill the motor/drive operation will driving.

Again, I think the stuck accelerator problem is very rare, but if 1) and 2) are as I suspect, that is a concern to me.
1, Yes you can put the Prius into neutral while driving. When I do a stress test on a Prius Hybrid Battery, I have to put the car into neutral and bring it to a stop without the Regen braking adding energy back into the battery.
2. If the Prius know if it will allow the Power Switch to be turned of while driving but it would be dangerous to try because it would engage the Park De-tent and lock up the wheels. I don't believe the car will allow you to do this because it know the car is still moving from the wheel sensors. I would recommend putting the car into neutral and moving to a safe place off the road. Then power the Power Switch off!
 
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