Understanding EPS in Cars - What is Electronic Power Steering?

Most modern vehicles today come equipped with an innovative power steering system called Electronic Power Steering (EPS). This system has replaced the traditional hydraulic power steering setups that were common in older vehicles. But what exactly is EPS and how does it work?

EPS Explained

The term “EPS” stands for Electronic Power Steering. Unlike hydraulic power steering that uses pump-driven hydraulic pressure to assist steering, EPS uses an electric motor to aid the driver in turning the steering wheel.

How It Works

In an EPS system, there is an electric motor that connects to the steering column or rack. A sensor detects how much force the driver is applying to the steering wheel. Based on inputs like vehicle speed, steering wheel torque, and turning radius, the electronic control unit (ECU) calculates how much assistive power the electric motor needs to provide.

The motor then kicks in with proportional assistance to reduce the effort required from the driver when turning the wheels. The amount of power assist decreases as vehicle speed rises to enhance steering feel and responsiveness.

Advantages of EPS There are several advantages that EPS offers over traditional hydraulic power steering:

  1. Fuel Efficiency – Since there is no pump continuously powered by the engine, EPS only draws battery power when steering assistance is required. This reduces parasitic losses and improves fuel economy.
  2. Lower Maintenance – EPS eliminates the power steering pump, hoses, fluids, and belts required for hydraulic systems. This means lower maintenance requirements over the life of the vehicle.
  3. Variable Assist – The EPS computer can vary the amount of power assist based on driving conditions for an optimized steering feel in different situations.
  4. Advanced Features – Some EPS systems provide advanced driver aids like active return assist to automatically straighten the wheels after a turn.

While EPS does put a slight draw on the vehicle’s electrical system when operating, the overall efficiency gains from eliminating the hydraulic pump losses make it a beneficial technology for modern vehicles.

In summary,

Electronic Power Steering uses an electric motor controlled by an ECU to provide variable steering assistance, improving fuel economy and offering enhanced steering capabilities compared to older hydraulic setups.

Also Read:

As automakers continue optimizing EPS calibrations, drivers can expect an even better steering experience in the future.

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