The Problem With Electric Power Steering - Hydraulic vs Electric!
Hydraulic Power Steering Isn't Dead Yet - McLaren Explains The Advantages
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Hydraulic vs electric power steering! What's the difference, and why are automotive journalists always complaining about electronic steering? And is there actually anything to these complaints? I took some time to speak with the chief engineer of the McLaren 620R and learn all about McLaren's philosophy on steering. We'll talk about the history of power steering, what McLaren believes to be the best steering strategy (for sports cars), and the science of how hydraulic steering systems can genuinely offer better road feedback.

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  • Engineering Explained
    Engineering Explained

    Just hit 3,000,000 subscribers!! Big thank you to everyone who has subscribed, watched, and supported this channel over the years! You sure do know how to make a nerdy kid with a whiteboard feel special. Thanks for being curious, for learning about cars with me, and for joining in on the discussion in the comments in an overwhelmingly positive manner. I can't thank you all enough!! 🙏

    • Keith Wittman
      Keith Wittman

      Again ,you do a great job on the videos! Thank you.

    • Keith Wittman
      Keith Wittman

      Yes! Congratulations!!!

    • Keith Wittman
      Keith Wittman

      Do a vid autobiography! What is your background? Hobbies? Income from FIbill videos? How FIbill pays you. Go from a young age, and tell what inspired you.

    • Keith Wittman
      Keith Wittman

      Got to say, you're great at explaining engineering! Keep up the good work.

    • dougiereilly

      Well done mate👍

  • Andreas

    I really think you should make your commentary while NOT driving. For many reasons.

  • Dark Mugetsu
    Dark Mugetsu

    Jokes on you my Honda has NO power steering !!!! HA.... cause it doesn't need it when it weighs 1675 ibs /760 kg

  • Augustinas Aušra
    Augustinas Aušra

    For example in heavy duty trucks you would never choose electric over hydraulic... with hydraulic i can feel the camber of the road, side-wind resistence, every inperfection in the road, witch is extremely usefull driving at higher rates of speed. When driving a truck you are always compensating every bit of inperfection and resistance. With electric steering you can only guess what to do, by your possition in lane. You cannot compensate real-time only react to aftereffects 😰 So from a trukers perspective electric steering is the trully one of the worts things...

  • Lorenzo


  • Disc 86
    Disc 86

    Hey, is the 620 sim miler to the 570GT4?

  • hugeandy71

    wtf in going on with subtitles? :D

  • quixoticcassandra

    I converted both my Miatas to OEM manual racks, and I love them. Not great in parking lots, but even though I'm nearly 62 years old, 5'5" tall, and can barely do 10 push-ups, I'd never go back to hydraulic. I just love the feeling. (I'm pulling into and out of a parking spots maybe 1% of the time I'm in the cars?)

  • Jack Van Epps
    Jack Van Epps

    the gearbox going from 6th to 7th like: ⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇⬆⬇

  • Techno Mage
    Techno Mage

    Hopefully the amount of gas I save is greater than the value of the battery and alternator I'll have to replace that much sooner

  • Keithy Co
    Keithy Co

    My old car was hydraulically assisted, and the difference between it and my current car’s electrically assisted set up, is night and day in terms of feel.

    • Keithy Co
      Keithy Co

      My old car was fun at any speed, whereas the current one requires significant forces through its wheels to get an approximation of feel. Both are not sporty cars fyi.

  • SevenDeMagnus

    Interesting, which has less lag.

  • Dennis Nelson
    Dennis Nelson

    The people who actually own that car are peeing their pants watching him drive in the fog while talking.

  • Ion

    So you can’t have an electroc valve to bleed the hydraulic at tour whim!?

  • Teardown Dan
    Teardown Dan

    I don't like the idea of having a high-torque electric motor mechanically coupled to the steering rack since that introduces multiple critical failure points (bunch of extra sensors, wiring, software, hardware, etc., all critical to safe predictable operation) that simply don't exist with hydraulics where the only specific critical component is the hydraulic valve and its effect is limited by end-stops. Until autonomous self-driving becomes a thing and makes directly-coupled steering motors a necessity, electro-hydraulic is what I'd go with.

  • S A
    S A


  • Eric S
    Eric S

    Hold up, vibrations and noise are high end race car features? What about holes in the floor and mushy brakes?


    Nothing annoys me more than drivers who use hand gestures while driving.

  • nikoladd

    So in short McLaren engineers had the wrong electric motor and didn't find a proper one, but instead opted for a expensive solution, because it must look complicated to justify the high price. They could have looked into low KV outrunners on the RC hobby market.. as NASA does recently.

  • SeenCreaTive

    After driving an old Miata, yes, I can say full hydraulic feels AMAZING. However why do they feel different? This video explains why McLaren uses this electro-hydrolic, but NOT why hydraulic feels so different to electric. I mean yeah, "micro vibrations" and motor inertia that Jason mentioned, but there's so much more. In my old Miata, I could feel exactly how much weight was on the front axle, plus it would tighten up as you start to load up the steering rack in a corner. I've never felt that in any electric rack load up in a corner as much as that Miata (or my old Accord for that matter too)

  • Pranav Agarwal
    Pranav Agarwal

    Dude make these explaining videos in some place quite . Yeah the car is awesome but the noise is really making your voice fade!!

  • Antryg Revok
    Antryg Revok

    As excellent as your help is, you are pushing distracted-driving. Stats have shown that even hands-free discussions significantly increase killing on the roads... Your influence is your karma, not mine.

  • Jerry Hogan
    Jerry Hogan

    Thank you for this fun unscripted lecture delivered whilst driving a Maclaren through the mountains. Congrats on 3M!

  • snaplash

    Needs a linear motor built into the steering rack. Only extra moving mass would be the magnets.

  • Josh Rhodes
    Josh Rhodes

    This is how you know the man is an expert. Explaining deep engineering and physics concepts. While driving a supercar around in the mountains.

  • Gabriele .Colombo-Dj
    Gabriele .Colombo-Dj

    i own both hydraulic (constant flow) and an electronic assisted cars. i can assure you i can feel the differece even during normal driving, the electronic assisted car has a sportier set ( the wheel is harder to turn) but at the same time it isolates you a lot more from the road. in the hydraulic assisted car i can feel exactly when the tires are at their limit and the car begins to understeer and correcting before actually understeering, with the electronic assisted car is more challenging.

  • Amaroq Starwind
    Amaroq Starwind

    Just wait until we have cars with synthetic muscle fibers.

  • Amaroq Starwind
    Amaroq Starwind

    My power steering system is a low-profile wearable exoskeleton.

  • Panos Triantaphillou
    Panos Triantaphillou

    Unfortunately, too much noise.

  • G I W U Ebanreb
    G I W U Ebanreb

    You are not a car guy. Spend more track time so that you will learn the feeling of a racer where your brain is faster than any sensor in the car

  • Ready Teddy
    Ready Teddy

    I remember "variable power assist" being advertised in the 1980's.

  • Ol'Smokey

    I love my VW electric steering

  • Vincenzo di Grande
    Vincenzo di Grande

    My wife was actually the one that convinced us to keep our old Opel car as it has ZF hydrolic power steering. We have tried a number of more modern cars that our parents lent us when we went on holidays, but my wife kept getting these vision migraines. She said that the old car feedback of the road actually reduces the stress on her eyes, because with the electronic power steering there is no other tell of the road conditions or wheels pulled sideways, other than the visual feedback. I do not really have this problem myself, but I do feel like there is such a numbness to the steering when it is fully electrical, that it feels like making love with ten condoms on.

  • scott offord
    scott offord

    IMHO power steering in general has helped people wear out steering hard parts prematurely. When I learned to drive in a non power assisted auto in the 1960s I knew to “ get the wheels turning” before putting in steering inputs. Now I see most everyone cranking the wheels “dry”. It must put much extra stress on all components. That being said I really enjoy the electric steering in my 2015 Ram 1500. Less power loss for the 5.7 Hemi as well! Passing 100,000 trouble free miles in this vehicle.

  • Midi Man
    Midi Man

    MY old 90 Acura Legend I believe has hydraulic Variable assisted power steering how did that work. I know when I went fast the power to the steering was less for more feeling. I do know it was hydraulic,

  • Sunhawk

    Do you have a 4 wheel steering video?

  • BAU

    Terribly noisy video...

  • Sachi Deshmane
    Sachi Deshmane

    The Honda S2000 had very good electric power steering 22 years ago, so I don't entirely buy the "the technology isn't there yet" argument. Also worth noting is the Toyota MRS had an electrically driven hydraulic power steering pump.

  • Landon Bradshaw
    Landon Bradshaw

    The car I drive now has electric power steering (Kia)... I gotta say, the difference between electric and hydraulic is insane. Dont get me wrong, how light weight the wheel is is truly incredible, I can steer the car safely with just my pinky finger (I've done it before) feels like the steering wheel isn't connected to anything, like it's just freely spinning on a ball bearing...but there is absolutely no feedback whatsoever, its just dead, there's nothing...even on gravel roads and offroad trails like when I go to the mountains, not the single bit of vibration from the steering wheel nor does the terrain try to take the wheel from you, it will drive straight until I tell it not too.

  • Gary Morrison
    Gary Morrison

    Dang, the engine noise! In the mid-80s to early-90s, I drove a diesel Rabbit and then Diesel Jetta - not exactly hot hatches, but I really got into squeezing every milligram of power out of them, speed-shifting and such. (Yes, I know that power is not measured in milligrams!) I got surprisingly good performance from them just from skillful driving. Nowadays though, I guess I must be 60 years old or something! Now, they just can’t make car too quiet for me! I’ll take the whir of a Tesla motor, and a dramatic Dvorak Symphony on the stereo, any day!

  • Josip Matić
    Josip Matić

    Very loud car...

  • zenovich1

    13 + mins to describe elect steering.?? Pfffft. I can't concentrate for more phone batt level is low. Where's my charger.

  • pollisoong

    2007ford focus wagon i drive. has hydraulic electric :) if turn wheel less than quarter quickly it does same movement. and if turning wheel slower it does same amount :D

  • IntelliFly

    I can relate. I have a 2013 Porsche Cayman S with electronic steering. At speeds above 200kmh the feedback is not as good as is my VW Scirocco. It feels less safe

  • Aesma

    F1 has power steering, Indycar doesn't. Not sure why.

  • trm4life

    The only reason I prefer electric power steering, is because it's less mess when the system fails. Let's face it, replacing power steering lines is time consuming and potentially expensive. Electric is better but when it fails steering is harder. However I've "fixed" an electric power steering failure by replacing the fuse. I would assume long run, replacing an electric motor COULD be better than multiple lines over multiple years because of simplicity. My only beef with hydraulic is the mess when the lines fail and the pain to remove the old and re-run the new line.

  • Sam lau (SamPvp)
    Sam lau (SamPvp)

    Bruh you need to turn your render distance up

  • Soravia

    2000-2005 Toyota MR-S aka MR-2 Spyder had the electric pumped hydraulic steering.

  • Big Bird
    Big Bird

    I like your use of the turnout lane. It's a gentle demonstration. "This is how these work."

  • allen styer
    allen styer

    I can tell you Porsche's electric steering gives plenty of feedback and has been just as good feeling as any hydraulic steering they ever had. Especially a gt3. You can feel everything in the road

  • PB&J Racing • 13 years ago
    PB&J Racing • 13 years ago

    It's interesting how so much thought is put into the engineering aspect of these cars but ultimately, most people who buy it will never take it to the track or appreciate those little details. It's also the same with modern smartphones.

  • Ron Kotula
    Ron Kotula

    You know, a few less "you knows" would be nice, you know?

    • GH1618

      Everybody is saying that.

  • harsh2029

    Why can't EPS ECU have algorithm to operate EPS motor not as damper?

  • That guy
    That guy

    Jason driving towards Silent Hill it seems

  • J Long, Jr.
    J Long, Jr.

    Fiat Chrysler put electric/hydraulic steering some years ago in Dodge Challengers and Chargers. When I got my 13 Challenger, I looked for the steering reservoir to find out the car has a fully contained electric/hydraulic steering system. The system works very well. The power load on the engine got transferred to the alternator, since the pump is now gone. The electric/hydraulic steering put high cyclical loads on the alternator. The extra load caused some alternators to fail and led to the P60 alternator recall. Mine was replaced without any problems with the original alternator. The systems works very well and I have no complaints. Its interesting to discuss this on a McLaren, though many cars today have electric/hydraulic steering.

  • Donivan Reis
    Donivan Reis

    Gotta make sure you redline that fucker at every stoplight to save fuel

  • Dylan Lewis
    Dylan Lewis

    I am grateful for the mass-adoption of electric power steering. Seeing all the cars with hydraulic power steering leaks, noise and other weird behavior is a big reason why. Further, electric power steering frees up a lot of space in the engine bay and it's one less fluid that has to be checked and maintained. Sure, the feedback may not be as good, but after having driven the latest generation electric steering racks, they're not too far off.

  • RG

    On a foggy day, behind a school bus, in a McLaren.

  • superluig164

    Couldn't the electric power steering feel issue be solved by connecting the electric motor through a torque converter?

  • Robert Lawrence
    Robert Lawrence

    Electric steering that isn't good is Drive By Wire. "Steer" clear of that. 😄

  • Aditya Vipradas
    Aditya Vipradas

    Beautiful explanation.


    ee: talks in loud cabin autocaptions: viETnAmEsE

    • bcubed72

      "We got da chicken noodle!"

  • Gregory Parrott
    Gregory Parrott

    Regarding the inertial effects of an electric motor abruptly reversing directions, there may be an obvious solution that is somewhat analogous to the dual clutch transmissions. That is - use TWO motors, where each spins in a dedicated direction. On a separate note, this is a car reserved for the obscenely wealthy, with little else to show for it. I saw a group of 4 McLarens in a parking lot, and one had a carbon fiber body. When I asked the owner about it, he had just spent perhaps a couple hundred thousand dollars CONVERTING his non carbon fiber car into one with carbon fiber. The term 'money to burn' just took on added meaning.

  • Redmenace96

    Watching for the second time- because didn't understand on #1. Did he say, 'track car'? I see AC vents. Is that a track car, nowadays?

  • Ryan Carroll
    Ryan Carroll

    On steering column stiffness: electric systems introduce some slop on purpose so sensors can measure deflection of the column against the load of the rack and adjust motor current appropriately.

  • Harry Fyf
    Harry Fyf

    The electrically assisted steering on the Mazda CX 3 is very annoying. When you turn the steering wheel it gives a click click feel on the steering wheel.

  • xiongguoy

    My 92 Toyota has EHPS, replacing fluids is a pain because it is different from normal hydraulic power steering fluid and hard to find.

  • Norberto Nova
    Norberto Nova

    Amazing video, so well explain! Could you make a video about dry steering (turning the tyres while static)

  • Fermitu Poupon
    Fermitu Poupon

    I mean it's fascinating how McLaren puts in all this engineering and effort, and I'm sure some of that stuff will trickle down to an actual practical road car. But for me, personally. I prefer hydropneumatic suspension and a nice and comfortable electric power steering setup. In daily use, I don't care about setting lap records and getting all that feedback that will just make my arms tired. I just want to be comfortable, have the car do all the things that it can do for me, and my sole responsibility being driving safely through traffic.

  • Stuntzii1

    wait.. that Mclaren only has 225/35 tires?? front 1:35

  • Eric Martindale
    Eric Martindale

    I _think_ that'd be a nice road to drive..... if I were rated to fly in IMC.

  • pkt1213

    I don't know. I treat every parking lot like an autocross.

  • Calebe Teles
    Calebe Teles

    duuuude stop kicking the carbon fiber everytime you get in and out your mclaren! It's all scratched!! hahahah

  • Daniel E
    Daniel E

    Anyone know what road that was?

  • kd1s

    My 2019 Chevy Trax is electric power steering. You can use your pinky finger to spin the wheel.

  • Brian Camper
    Brian Camper

    Hey, I was wondering if current can be substituted for voltage in wattage? Thus powering something that has dropped voltage? Even if it will burn it up after a period of time.

  • rkl08551

    did you ask the engineer why the gearboxes break...

  • Lacy Desires
    Lacy Desires

    Also, S2K to start... 3 mill later and driving a Mc.. If any FIbillr deserves it... He does

  • Lacy Desires
    Lacy Desires

    The most amazing part of this video? The Mcs running...

  • Donald Burkhard
    Donald Burkhard

    Electric control is still hydraulic, just different how pump driven and controlled.

  • Martin Roswall
    Martin Roswall

    Drinking game- Y'all know the word, right? ;)

  • TassieLorenzo

    8:50 Some cars even have a rubber coupling in the middle of the steering column to make it extra squishy! Many Hyundais and even older BMWs (including the E46 M3!!!) for example.

  • Rick Johnson
    Rick Johnson

    A steering column's lack of torsional stiffness also stems from the electronic power steering's inline torque sensor in many configurations. With the car completely off, cars with EPS have some slop both ways before engaging the rack. That slop has some resistance, but would certainly absorb some road feel.

  • schmoosmith

    Does that particular 620R have nose lift?

  • Mogady

    Bruh that soupy thick fog tho “warm and sunny California.” On a mountain with a low visibility car is pretty scary ngl.

  • Eric Lloyd
    Eric Lloyd

    So it sounds like the way to make electric steering suck less is to reduce the rotor/slider mass and minimize the generator effect. I'm imagining small non-magnetized ferromagnetic blocks on an aluminum slide inside a coil stator that's only energized when you're providing steering input. Finish it off with ceramic bearings in a light grease, and you've got something there.

  • N A
    N A

    My mk7 honda civic has an EPS but I think it's failing. The steering wheel sqeaks and grinds close to the central steering and becomes stiffer when the car warms up 🤷🏽‍♂️

  • the Car Truth Report
    the Car Truth Report

    On the center lock nut thing with racecars, I have seen many tires come off racing cars during races, so the redundancy is a good idea for sure!

  • Gabriel Pla
    Gabriel Pla

    Awesome job teaming up with NHTSA!

  • Leandro laporta
    Leandro laporta

    That's my problem with assisted power steering, I would like to turn it off as soon as the car gets to 20mph or more so I have the right feel but as you've said the motor creates an enormous mass that softens the feel in the steering wheel :( still I prefer electric instead of hydraulic because of simplicity)

  • Iain Ballard
    Iain Ballard

    Best steering feel I've ever experience was a Peugeot 205 GTI -- no power steering at all!

  • MrManuel1329

    My friends 2004 Mazda 3 had electric hydraulic and the steering feel was amazing for cheap economy car lol.

  • Mark Rice
    Mark Rice


  • Lyfan Deth
    Lyfan Deth

    Gorgeous warm and sunny day with less than 1/4 mile visibility in fog, huh? Simple rack and pinion, no power assist. No power steering pump failures or fires (been there) and thousands of $$$ less parts. KISS.

  • Dennis

    Does tracking the car void the warranty? Or do McLaren actually allow tracking the car like it's designed for?

  • Kismias

    I had two cars that didn't have working power steering. Its the second best car theft deterrent after manual transmissions. I was used to it to the point I drove one handed most of the time. Whenever some soft bodied, limp noodle, string arm power steering user tried to drive it it was like watching someone lift weights for the first time. LOL

  • Joshua Gibson
    Joshua Gibson

    1979 GM power steering is the best ever. 75-85 actually.

  • Jake Smith
    Jake Smith

    I thought for sure it was going to be the inductance (or whatever the proper term is) of the electric motor resisting the vibrations, not the mass. Then again, I'm not an engineer. I didn't even stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

  • Frank Gore (Friendly Photon)
    Frank Gore (Friendly Photon)

    Huh... I have a tough time relating to all this supercar stuff. I still drive cars intended for mortals and commoners.

  • Lister Dave
    Lister Dave

    The thing about having different level of power assistance depending on speed is not a new thing and has been around at least for fifteen years. My 2005 Range Rover has such an adaptive system. It does not use an electric pump but has a solenoid that adjusts the response of spool valve in the hydraulic ram. It is controlled by an ECU but the rest of the system is entirely mechanical/hydraulic, including the pump which is driven by a belt off the crankshaft. It works great, giving a very light steering when parking, reversing etc but then tightening up above I think some 15MPH or so.

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