reports that Prius hybrid owners are changing factory settings they don't like by hacking into the car themselves.
Changes being made include getting more miles per gallon, removing the beeping sound when the car is in reverse, and enabling the Prius to drive mostly on battery power, and making it possible to use the car's onboard navigation system while driving (impossible on a factory Prius).
People want solutions to fuel economy and the environment faster than the market will deliver, says Jacob Gordon, writer for an online environmentalist magazine. The advanced computer system of the Prius offers this technology, but only if hacked.
Bill, Kwong, a Toyota spokesman, says Toyota doesn't encourage consumers to hack the system. He said that hacking the navigation system, for instance, is dangerous because it distracts the driver.
Phillip Torrone, an associate editor at do-it-yourself tech journal Make Magazine
, advises that hacking can be dangerous, but he believes today's hacking is akin to modifying in the 1950's.