Not long after Dan Kroushl got his new 2004 Toyota Prius, he began to wonder about the mysterious button on the dash. It didn't seem to have any function. Didn't boost the turbo or engage an ejector seat. In online discussions with other Prius enthusiasts, Mr. Kroushl soon discovered the button did have a hidden function: It could turn the gasoline-electric hybrid into an all-electric car - for a mile or so on limited battery power.
This 'stealth mode' button works fine in Japan and Europe where it's handy for drivers to roll politely about densely packed subdivisions in the early morning and late evening. But the button has been disconnected for North America's Priuses