E-Brakes, also known as electronic brakes or electronic parking brakes, is a mechanism in a vehicle used for holding a car in place. These brakes also function as secondary brakes in case primary brakes malfunction or fail to perform. In most modern vehicles, primary brakes include a hydraulic/disc braking system but that doesn’t necessarily mean that every vehicle has an e-brakes system in it.
The traditional and old handbrakes had a lever with a cable attached to it, which, when pulled upwards, engaged and locked the brakes on the rear wheels. Electronic brakes work in the same way, with the difference being that it uses electric motors to apply the brakes. However, most e-brakes automatically disengage when the accelerator pedal is pressed. Many modern automatic vehicles come equipped with electronic brakes but it primarily depends upon the car’s manufacturers and the model for the availability of this option.
Though it is not necessary that your car has to have e-brakes, you can always check. In some vehicles, it is displayed as a parking brake with a “P” sign, while in others, it is called an electronic brake hold. The electric parking brake was first introduced in four-wheelers in the year 2001 by BMW in their then top of the line model BMW 7 Series E65, which is different than the other variants of this brake that either had a lever or a pedal to use these brakes.
Many car manufacturing companies such as Land Rover, Volkswagen, BMW, and many others have models that use electronic parking brakes, which are automatically released when the accelerator pedal is pushed. Some of the modern vehicles have up-hill assist or down-hill assist features as well, which is nothing but an advanced form of e-brakes. The system detects whether the car is on a slope and stops it from rolling downwards or backward.
Electronic brakes are generally more reliable and take the lead over their counterparts in many domains. One of the reasons is that they enable the manufacturers to have free space in the car’s cabin and also less human involvement. This feature also adds up to the design aesthetic of the vehicle and gives a spacious feel to it.
Brakes usually function through brake rotors, also commonly known as brake discs. Vehicles having E-Brakes have two different rotors, one for e-brakes and the other for regular brakes. On most vehicles, when brakes are applied, it locks the front rotors while on the other hand, when e-brakes are engaged, it gets the rear rotors tightened.
Vehicles having separate rotors for both brakes help both the systems remain independent and keep them running for a relatively long period of time. Moreover, since both work in an isolated manner, it requires less maintenance. Furthermore, if primary brakes fail, which in modern times is a rare occurrence, and since the electronics brakes are not interconnected, they can help bring the vehicle to a halt or at least provide a little help.
Electric brakes or electronic parking brakes have been a great addition in a vehicle's braking system. They have been a great assist to the drivers, making the journey more comfortable, safer, and convenient.