Like everything else, your car’s brakes are moving toward electric assist
f you’re still getting used to the feel of electrically boosted power steering, you might find this next bit of news troublesome. Over the next few years, you’re going to have to get used to the feel of electrically boosted power brakes and then, almost certainly, true braking by wire.
Tier One supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG has developed a brake system that’s assisted by an electric motor, and it’s coming, somewhere, for 2018. Bosch and other suppliers have similar technology in play. For now, at least, the hydraulics remain, but the new approach replaces the conventional vacuum booster with a motor that works on the master cylinder plunger to add force when a driver presses the brake pedal.
Electric brake assist should not be confused with a conventional ABS motor or pump. An ABS motor operates the solenoids that relieve hydraulic brake pressure just at the point of lockup and may help rebuild pressure as necessary. The assist power in current brake systems — the force that augments the driver’s foot pressure on the brake pedal — is vacuum provided by the engine and/or a vacuum pump.