What Is Electric Parking Brake (EPB)?
The electric parking brake or the EPB is an advanced version of a conventional parking brake or handbrake. Sometimes, people also refer to this system as ‘Electronic Parking Brake.’ Technically, this system is a sub-part of the more advanced ‘Brake by Wire’ system.
The main function of parking brakes is to avoid the vehicle’s motion when parked. In addition, these brakes also play an essential role in avoiding the backward motion of vehicles that resumes moving on a slope. Generally, parking brakes operate only on the rear wheels of a vehicle.
How Does It Work?
Conventional parking brakes employ a cable that connects the handbrake lever and brake shoes. When the driver operates the lever, the tension in the cable increases. Therefore, it forces the brake shoe (or pads) on the brake drum (or disc). Thus, the wheels cannot move further.
However, in Electric Parking Brake, no such cable connection exists. Instead, it works with the help of the following main components:
- Electronic Brake Module
- An actuator or electric motor
- Electric Switch in cabin
When the driver operates the switch, it sends a command to Electronic Brake Module. First, it senses that it requires the parking brakes to operate. Later, this module commands the actuators or electric motors installed in the brake calipers to operate. Next, it forces the brake pads on the disc. Thus, it restricts the movement of wheels.
Due to the use of electronic components, the operation of this system is almost instantaneous and efficient. Also, it improves braking reliability. It is mainly because of the absence of a mechanical connection. This brake deactivates automatically when the driver presses the accelerator pedal. Some vehicle manufacturers also integrate the Hill Start Assist function with this system.
Advantages of Electric Parking Brake:
- The response time of this system is very short.
- The operation is highly reliable.
- Improves control of the vehicle while starting from standstill condition on a slope.
- This system is costly.
- It needs a skilled professional for troubleshooting.
Nowadays, most modern cars employ EPB. For more information, please click here.