I am a firm believer in the “Keep It Simple Stupid” (KISS) philosophy, so when electric power steering was introduced for ATVs and UTVs I saw it as another thing to go wrong while ATV trail riding in the back country. But everyone I have talked to that have it say it is the greatest thing since sliced bread. If you are like me I would like ATV Electric Power Steering Explained, so after some research I put together the following.
Since I do most of the repairs, maintenance and modifications on my ATV I need to know how stuff works before I can believe in it. With everyone saying that Electric Power Steering (EPS) adds comfort, control and reduces fatigue I needed to know more about this 10 – 15 pound component.
The EPS system uses an electric motor attached to the steering stem. A special sensor monitors and detects the torque and position of the steering stem and provides this information to the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) via electric signals. The ECU utilizes this information along with the speed of the vehicle to determine how much power assist is needed from the electric motor.
The ECU has a preprogrammed force map and based on the inputs (torque, position and speed) the ECU utilizes the map to output the appropriate power and directional signal to the electric motor. These force maps are fine tuned by the manufacturer to improve road feel, comfort and dampen kickback.
The electric motor turns the steering stem to the right or the left depending on the electric signals it receives from the ECU, the more powerful the signal the more power assist is provided. The faster the speed the less power assist is provided and the slower the speed the more power assist is provided.
The electric motor, torque and position sensors are all housed in a waterproof housing to protect it from the elements. For me the dampening of wheel-grabbing obstacles would be a big plus as I have taken a handlebar to the ribs on more than one occasion. Reduced fatigue would also be a plus for those that are lacking proper ATV fitness.
Just like the auto industry I am sure that EPS will become standard on all 4×4 utility ATVs and UTVs. All of the big name manufacturers offer EPS on some of their 4×4 utility ATVs and UTVs and there are some after market EPS kits available.
The extra 10 – 15 pounds does not seem to be too much and I can see a big benefit with EPS when running bigger tires. I am concerned about the reliability of these units especially with the way I ride. Now that ATV electric power steering has been explained a little better hopefully you can develop your own opinion on whether to add it to your next ATV or UTV.