With automotive companies either using electric power steering or hydraulic power steering, one reputable name in the luxury automotive industry still looks to hydraulic based systems for their power steering needs.
McClaren makes the choice of hydraulic over electric power steering systems as they believe that an electric driven power steering system acts as a mass damper in the system and takes away from the driver the feel of the road. This car powerhouse has opted for an electro-hydraulic assist power steering system, which means that the system is a hydraulic one, but instead of the hydraulic pump being powered by the engine it is powered by an electric motor. McClaren believes that this is the best of both worlds as there is no drag in the engine, and there is no need to run hydraulic lines from the front to the back of the car. By doing so the car has more flexibility as the pump isn’t dependent on the engine speed.
Engineering Explained host Jason Fenke comments that the McClaren 620R is such a McClaren whose design includes an electro-hydraulic power steering system. He goes on to explain that it is tuned to provide more steering assist at low speeds which makes parking easier, and less assist at high speeds which allows for road feel and responsiveness. The linear effort also makes for good steering. A McClaren engineer interviewed by Fenske explained that in the basic design of a hydraulic power steering system it has hydraulic fluid on either side, so when the wheel is turned, the fluid is displaced reducing the steering effort. This allows for the piston to move back and forth due to less inertia than there would be with an electric motor. By including this in the design of their cars the drivers need less effort to turn and steer regardless of the speed, and the enjoyment of driving isn’t taken away from them.
Seeing hydraulic systems and components being used in luxury vehicles such as a McClaren confirms for Power Team SA the importance of hydraulics in all areas of the automotive industry. As suppliers of quality hydraulic components, Power Team SA has seen the uses of hydraulics in various industries, and has also seen the positive impact of this type of system.