Plug In Solutions, one of the largest plug-in hybrid kit manufacturers in California, says that it has come up with a fix for the “unintended acceleration” issue for all of Toyota’s cars—not just the hybrid ones. The fix comes in the form of a switch that allows drivers to “turn off” their engine in the case of an emergency. Interestingly enough, this is the same type of fix that regulators are currently debating a future requirement for on all vehicles.
While it is not truly a “fix” and more of a band-aid on the underlying issue, the add-on kit does address the problem in a way that seems rather certain to succeed in an emergency. It also gets around the need to tackle hard-to-nail-down software issues—although it won’t win the $1 million prize just announced “find the cause of and solution to” the issue. No one has yet to conclusively prove what the unintended acceleration issue is related to, and Toyota has gotten a rather unfair lashing in all of this considering that their “unintended acceleration” rates are about the same as the industry average.
Robb Protheroe, Plug In Solutions’ Director of Technology, said in a statement that the same technology they use in their plug-in hybrid kits “just happens to solve Toyota’s latest issues with their customers’ inability to stop their vehicle.”
“When we realized that all our employees drove Toyota Prius and Highlander Hybrids, we knew that we needed to create a safe solution quickly,” added Andra Sachs, Plug In Solutions’ Director of Sales and Marketing. “Our engineers then realized that we had already solved this problem and incorporated it into all of our Plug In Hybrid Kits and cars.”
The company says that if Toyota owners already have the Plug In Solutions Kit installed they also have the safety feature installed. If any other Toyota owners would like to add the feature to their vehicles, they can buy them for $99 without installation or $199 installed—although I do think that Plug In Solutions is just the first company in a long ling of forthcoming announcements for similar such products from other companies.