Electric power steering (EPS) has become increasingly common in modern vehicles as it offers a number of advantages over hydraulic power steering. Unlike hydraulic systems that use pressurized fluid to assist with steering, EPS systems use an electric motor and computer control to provide steering assistance. In this blog, we’ll explore the benefits of EPS and how it works.
Improved Fuel Economy
One of the biggest advantages of EPS is improved fuel economy. Unlike hydraulic power steering systems, which require the engine to drive a hydraulic pump, EPS systems are powered by an electric motor. Because the motor only runs when needed, EPS can reduce the load on the engine and improve fuel efficiency.
EPS also requires less maintenance than hydraulic power steering. Hydraulic systems rely on fluid to lubricate and cool the components, which can degrade over time and require periodic flushing and replacement. EPS systems, on the other hand, use an electric motor and sensors to control the steering assistance, eliminating the need for fluid and reducing maintenance requirements.
Improved Steering Performance
EPS also offers improved steering performance compared to hydraulic systems. Because the electric motor can respond quickly to changing conditions, EPS can provide more precise and responsive steering. Additionally, EPS can adjust the level of steering assistance based on driving conditions, such as speed and road surface, to provide the best possible performance.
How EPS Works
EPS uses an electric motor to provide steering assistance, rather than relying on hydraulic pressure. The motor is typically located on the steering column or steering rack and is controlled by a computer module that receives input from sensors throughout the vehicle.
When the driver turns the steering wheel, sensors detect the direction and force of the movement and send signals to the computer module. The module then calculates the appropriate level of assistance and sends a signal to the electric motor to provide the necessary force. Because the motor can respond quickly to changing conditions, EPS can adjust the level of assistance in real-time, providing a more precise and responsive driving experience.
Types of EPS
There are several different types of EPS, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
In column-mounted EPS, the electric motor is located on the steering column, typically just below the steering wheel. This design provides a compact and lightweight system, and can be easily integrated into a variety of vehicle platforms. However, because the motor is located far from the steering rack, it can be more difficult to achieve precise steering control.
In rack-mounted EPS, the electric motor is located on the steering rack, which is attached to the steering linkage. This design provides a more direct steering control, as the motor is located closer to the steering mechanism. However, because the motor is attached to the steering rack, the system can be more complex and heavier than column-mounted EPS.
In belt-driven EPS, the electric motor is located away from the steering mechanism and drives a belt that provides steering assistance. This design can provide more efficient power delivery and allow for more flexible packaging, as the motor can be located further away from the steering mechanism. However, the use of a belt can introduce additional components that require maintenance.
EPS has become a popular choice for modern vehicles due to its improved fuel economy, reduced maintenance requirements, and improved steering performance. With a variety of different types of EPS available, vehicle manufacturers can choose the system that best meets their specific needs. As electric vehicle technology continues to advance, we can expect to see even more innovation in the field of electric power steering.