Explaining the vehicle alphabet – Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)

In the second of our series, we explain another common acronym found in modern vehicle safety and driver aid systems – Electronic Brakeforce Distribution or EBD.

EBD works closely with ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), which we explained in last month’s newsletter. The whole idea is to apply brake force when and where it is needed most in an emergency situation. This response is controlled by a micro-computer and happens much faster than the driver can react.  

EBD is based on the principle that not every wheel needs to apply the same effort to bring the car to a stop. Basically some wheels carry a heavier load than others and will therefore exert more braking force to bring the car to a halt without it losing control.

The amount of weight being supported by a wheel also shifts during the braking process, so the amount of brake force needed at each wheel can change very rapidly. An EBD system not only detects how much weight is being supported by each wheel, but it adjusts the amount of braking power sent to each wheel on a moment by moment basis.

So how does this help you in the real world? Imagine you're driving down the highway and you see a hazard in front of you -- a stopped car, for instance. You slam on your brakes but you don’t have enough time to come to a full stop so you turn the steering wheel to one side to go around the stopped car, even while you're still pressing down on the brake.

What happens next? Well, if your car has a traditional braking system the shifting vehicle weight can cause the tyres to lock, which reduces your ability to steer. You may find that you can't get around the obstacle in time. Or the car may oversteer and go out of control.

But if you have EBD, the story will have a very different ending - your vehicle's tyres won't lock up and you can keep steering. And the oversteer is prevented by maintaining the proper brake force to the inner and outer wheels. As a result, you're more likely to get out of this situation with your car intact and your passengers uninjured.

Keep an eye out for the next is our series in next month’s newsletter!


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