How Drive-By-Wire Throttle Works (and Pros and Cons)

Drive-by-wire throttle technology is what electronically attaches the throttle to the gas pedal. As you may know, the throttle is responsible for regulating the amount of fuel that flows into the internal combustion engine.

When you step on the gas pedal, it signals to the throttle to allow more fuel into the engine. The harder you step on the gas pedal to accelerate, the more fuel that will get sent to the engine.

Throttle technology had previously relied on a mechanical control system which was comprised of cables and hydraulic pressure. This system is referred to as drive-by-cable.

Nowadays, most vehicles have a drive-by-wire throttle system which is comprised of electronic controls, parts, sensors, computer chips and other components. This makes the braking and steering systems perform much better.

Of course, there are some people who still prefer the mechanical components for throttle control versus the drive-by-wire technology. To help you decide which is better, below are the pros and cons of a drive-by-wire system.

Advantages of Drive-By-Wire Throttle

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Here are the top 5 advantages of a drive-by-wire throttle system:

1) Reduced Weight

Mechanical throttle control systems make a vehicle weigh more. The drive-by-wire throttle technology weighs less because there are fewer parts in it. When you have a vehicle that weighs less, it takes pressure off the engine.

2) Better Controls

The mechanical throttle system had few places in the cabin where controls could be positioned. Thankfully, the drive-by-wire technology allowed car manufacturers to position the controls in any place inside the cabin that they wanted.

3) Better Fuel Economy

Since the drive-by-wire technology weighs less, the engine doesn’t have to work as hard. While only a small difference, this means it doesn’t need as much fuel too. As a result, you will save money on gas.

4) Environmentally Friendly

You will have great gas mileage because you are not burning as much fuel per mile. This will help reduce carbon emissions, which is good for helping to protect the environment.

Many new cars are built with technology which considers the environmental impact of its carbon emissions. Drive-by-wire technology is just the beginning of environmentally friendly automobile innovation.

5) Extra Safety Features

The drive-by-wire throttle technology works in conjunction with several electronic safety systems in the vehicle. For instance, safety features like blind spot detection, adaptive cruise control, electronic stability control, and lane assistance are made possible through the use of this technology.

A mechanical throttle-controlled vehicle will never be able to have these features.

See Also: 14 Race Car Technologies Found In Regular Cars

Disadvantages Drive-By-Wire Throttle

frustrated driver

Here are only 2 real disadvantages of a drive-by-wire throttle system:

1) Hacking

An often referenced disadvantage of drive-by-wire throttle technology is that it is susceptible to hacking. Technically, since it is controlled electronically, someone with a wireless or wired connection could override the control system and shut it off. Either that or they could take control of it and put the driver or others in a dangerous situation.

While the chance a someone hacking the system is extremely unlikely, the risk does exist. That is why some people prefer the old-fashioned mechanical linkage of their throttle because no one will be able to hack it. This makes people feel safer.

2) Malfunctioning Sensor

Electronic components and sensors may be extremely helpful when they’re functioning, but they can also be a nightmare when they’re not functioning. If just one sensor were to malfunction in this drive-by-wire throttle technology, it would immediately cause problems with the flow of fuel into the engine.

This means your driving ability will be diminished to the point where you’ll need to get your system repaired.

Related: Bad Throttle Position Sensor Symptoms


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