Electrically operated parking brakes are starting to replace
mechanical systems. They eliminate bulky hand and foot levers, and free
space for the driver and a growing number of electronic devices in
vehicles. Among 2005 model-year vehicles available with electric parking
brakes are Audi A6 and A8, BMW 7 Series, Lincoln LS, and Jaguar S-Type
and XJ. For 2006, at least six more models, including Volkswagen’s
Passat, will have electric parking brakes.
TRW Automotive’s electric parking-brake system is the most
advanced in production. Other systems, such as the Dura Automotive
Systems unit on Lincoln’s LS and those made by Continental Teves and
Siemens VDO Automotive, use an electric motor to operate the
These systems can engage automatically when the driver shuts off
the ignition; can keep a vehicle from rolling back on a hill, until the
driver touches the clutch or throttle pedals; can help stop the vehicle
with less driver interaction, if the hydraulic system fails; and can
keep brakes automatically adjusted.