What Does EPC Mean in a Volkswagen Beetle?


In many ways, the New Beetle is both what it's always been and what it was never meant to be. The original Beetle was a cool little runabout designed to efficiently and reliably mobilize the masses. That much hasn't changed. What has is the rugged simplicity that made the original Bug such a hit in the first place.


  • In VW-speak, the acronym "EPC" stands for "electronic pedal control." That's a German way of saying "fly-by-wire" throttle control. The term "fly-by-wire" originated in the aircraft industry, used to describe aircraft that had no mechanical or hydraulic linkages between the control stick and control surfaces on the wings or tail. Pilots were initially suspicious of fly-by-wire, but the technology eventually proved itself in helping pilots to control notoriously unstable flying wings like the B-2 stealth bomber, and super-high-performance fighters like the F-22 Raptor.

    As used in cars, fly-by-wire refers only to the throttle control; EPC systems like those engineered by VW use a sensor mounted on the gas pedal to control a servo on the engine's throttle via a computer. Rather than mechanically pulling open the throttle blade with a traditional cable, the gas pedal on an EPC car "tells" the computer how fast you want to go. The computer then figures out the best combination of throttle position and fuel injection settings required to give the greatest performance and fuel economy. The EPC servo also works with the cruise control and traction control to moderate engine output.

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