New vehicles are changing every year, mostly because of developments in electronics. Vehicle systems that were mechanically controlled are now controlled by the vehicle’s computer. One such new system is electronic throttle control, known as drive-by-wire.
The drive-by-wire system eliminates the conventional mechanically operated system that had been used since the beginning of the cars. The standard mechanically operated accelerator pedal uses a cable attached from the pedal to the throttle body. When you presses down on the pedal, the cable opens the throttle plate, allowing air to pass through into the engine. The engine RPM is directly proportional to the angle of the throttle plate. With drive-by-wire, the cable is replaced by an electronically controlled system using advanced electro-mechanical actuators. In place of a cable, an accelerator pedal position sensor is connected to the accelerator pedal. This sensor, which is a potentiometer, determines the position of the accelerator pedal and signals this information to the vehicle’s ECU, in turn, commands the throttle control motor to open or close the throttle valve.
The drive-by-wire system has its limitations; however, the main problem is that throttle response time is significantly slower. Throttle response, also known as vehicle’s responsiveness, is a measure of how fast an internal combustion engine can raise its power output from a low RPM to a higher more powerful RPM in response to a driver’s request for acceleration; pushing the pedal down. Throttle response is often jumbled with better power; however, throttle response is actually a measurement of the time taken for a change in power output.
Drivers all appreciate the need for speed and thrill of pushing our cars to newer limits, and slower throttle response will just increase the time it takes to get to your vehicle’s max power. To address the problem, the aftermarket world has developed a new system to override the factory electronic throttle control settings, which have a noticeable time delay. The Pedal Commander Throttle Controller, is a great addition to add that extra “WOOW” to your drive-by-wire vehicle.
The Pedal Commander will basically bypass the ECU in the vehicle. The controller is designed to take the information right from the accelerator pedal position sensor and compile it in a high speed controller circuit. It also slightly advances that number and then sends it directly to the ECU. By sending the information to the computer this way, a couple of checks that the engine computer will make can be bypassed before sending the signal to open the throttle plate. With this controller, you have 4 different programming options; however, the throttle response timing will be noticeably faster.