Current testing methodology is v1.2
October 6, 2014
6.3 x 3 x 2.3 in
The EVC Throttle Controller just might keep you safer when you need your vehicle to move…fast.
I’ve got a big truck and I cannot lie, you other bro’s can’t deny that when my truck rolls in with my….actually my truck rolls into intersections and roundabouts a lot I can’t deny and there are times I fear I won’t make it through in time to not get hit by other cars.
This is not an uncommon issue for people who drive trucks (Utes as they are called Downunder) where there is noticeable throttle lag, especially with Diesel’s but also in petrol vehicles.
I drive a Haval H9. It’s only a 2 litre, single turbo engine but it’s a really great, affordable machine and I like it very much. What I don’t like is the throttle lag. It’s not really turbo lag, more like the truck just slows at intersections/roundabouts etc and isn’t sure if it should go down a gear or up a gear or try to make the current gear work.
So, when I put my foot down from a slow roll, the engine computer doesn’t know what gear to be in so I plant my foot and hope for the best. Usually, there is a delay and then boom – the turbo kicks in and off we fly, but far too slow for my liking.
A friend who had a diesel truck had an iDrive and recommended it to me. Common for Toyotas, Ford, Mazda and more. The facebook forum for Haval H9 owners also all boasted that the iDrive would solve my issues. So, I took the plunge.
Here is my experience.
EVC iDrive Throttle Controller
A remarkably simple and basic device that seems to do what it says on the box.
The EVC Throttle controller (iDrive) does what it says on the tin. It is, mostly, easy to install and can certainly improve the throtlle response on your vehicle. In saying that, I’m not sure what it does exactly to override the cars computer and therefore what associated issues might arise from it’s long term use.
I’ll keep it for when I need it as there is always the option to operate the vehicle with the EVC Throttle Controller off. Whether it’s the Hike IT or Ultimate9 or EVC, they’re all pretty much the same beast with a different label.
Feels pricey for what it is but as a grey market it’s a sellers space. Definitely works well if you need to improve your throttle responsiveness.
- 3 Modes: Eco, Ultimate, Auto
- Installation: Avg – 5 Minutes
- Connection: OBDII Plug
- Optional Faceplates: A few different colors
What’s in the Box?
- EVC Throtlle Controller
- Instruction sheet
- Promotional Sticker
- Lifetime replacement warranty (may depend on retailer)
Stuff I like
- It works as promised
- Relatively easy install – depending on how hard it is to get to your accelerator plug
- The different modes and ability to turn it off when ever you want is nice
Stuff I like less
- Makes me feel ‘weird’ not knowing how this is communicating with my vehicles computer
- Something ran hot the first time I went out – maybe it was just me
Where to get it
Comparable products to consider
I’m relatively confident, but have no factual evidence, that the HikeIT and the EVC are similar with different branding. HikeIT can tell me if I’m wrong and I’ll adjust this accordingly. They do offer two different models and the X5 and X9. The X9 has additional modes worth looking at.
They also seem to offer decent prices.
The Elite Drive has a more attractive visual display and boasts 9 modes with 10 settings per mode. It’s also more expensive and I can only find it in NZ so far.
Specific to the USA, the Pedal Commander is one of the leading throttle controllers. With a rugged look and an accompanying smartphone app, they’ve taken throttle control to the next level. If your F-150 or Ram needs a little pep added to its step then this might be worth a look. Not cheap.
So, I feel like I have quite a lot to say about this product regardless of the fact that it is indeed a very simple piece of gear.
The first thing to understand is that it would seem that most-all accelerator pedals have the same kind of plug to them and possibly, the same way of controlling the gearbox to know when to change gears.
The EVC Throttle Controller certainly works, it has three modes and levels of settings with each of those modes. Most throttle controllers seem to offer similar options – some with more modes like ‘sports’ or ‘4wd’ but I think the end result is really the same.
There is only so much you can improve your driving experience through a throttle controller.
The EVC controller modes are:
- Off – this is cool. If you’re like ‘nah, I don’t need this kinda action right now.’, you can turn it off. It stay powered, ready for you to change modes if you decide to enable it again.
- Eco Mode – this actually reduces the senstivity of the accelerator pedal
- Ultimate Mode – this has 9 levels. Level 9 is the highest, most responsive level.
- Auto Mode – this is meant to gauge what your looking for at the time and kick in accordingly.
I have an 8 speed ZF gearbox so the EVC has plenty to play with.
Installation was simple on my truck. I just had to:
- Remove the existing plug that was attached to the top of the accelerator pedal
- Plug one end of the ECV iDrive cable to that
- Then plug the original vehicle plug into the other end of the EVC cable
- Finally, connect the display/control unit to the only free plug left to on the EVC plug.
So to clarify once more – there is only one plug in the vehicle you need to unplug and plug in to the EVC.
You can’t really get this wrong as all the plugs can fit in one way. It would be hard or difficult to incorrectly connect the wrong plugs, or do it in the wrong order.
I included a photo of my confused face from the perspective of the car pedals in the gallery above.
The hardest thing about this whole process, the part that had me swearing was getting the plug disconnected from the existing accelerator. This is because there was very little space on the backside where I needed to push the existing plugs ‘teeth’ into pop out.
For this, I used a short screw in the end but I might have also managed with a screw tip. There just wasn’t enough space behind the accelerator to fit a small screwdriver or similar.
Once installed I ensured all the wires were safely secured down behind the panelling – this is really IMPORTANT. You can’t leave stuff hanging down around your pedals – it’s dangerous so make sure you’ve safely stored/secured/hidden any excess wires.
Using the EVC Throttle Controller
Once you have it installed, the rest is surprisingly easy.
When I say easy…I mean…that’s it. It just works. You don’t need to ‘set’ anything else which is kind of nice but also kind of weird.
The one thing you can do once it’s installed is begin playing with the modes. So far it seems I can do this while driving so there is no need to stop the car, let the engine rest and then drive off again.
I’m not sure why I expected to have to do that, I guess I felt anything affecting speed and acceleration might need a breather before changing over but, it’s not necessary; you can change it in real-time.
There are two buttons on the front of the EVC Throttle Controller. One for Mode and one for Set.
Mode selects one of three operating modes. Economy, Ultimate (think sporty) and one for Automatic.
- Economy reduces accelerator/throttle sensitivity – considered good for towing or reversing large things where if you punched the accelerator while reversing you might accidentally destroy a building.
- Ultimate increases accelerator/throttle sensitivity – it helps the gear box decide to step through the gears faster.
How is this different to Sports mode on my truck?
It’s not that different but it is. This is from my subjective experience.
The first point to make here is that Sports mode tells the gearbox to change faster and hold each gear longer.
Sports mode also only has one mode…Sports.
The EVC iDrive Throttle controller is different in both those regards.
Firstly it has multiple modes. You can slightly increase the responsiveness just by moving to the setting ‘U-2’. That is Mode = Ultimate and Setting = 2.
It’s probably the best choice, or somewhere around there, for most vehicles because it gives you just that little bit more you’ve been missing without being out of control.
In saying that you can choose U-1 all the way through to U-9. U-9 Is ‘give me everything you’ve got without blowing up’. It’s the highest, most engaging setting that will certainly show you a side of your car or truck you’ve never experienced.
Negatives to the EVC Throttle Controller?
I don’t know if I can call these negatives but anything that creates uncertainty is not a good thing.
Let’s be clear, I am not a mechanic and if you are then let me know in the comments below how the science of this works.
My understanding is the iDrive/HikeIT/Ultimate9 Throttle Controller sends the gearbox a signal to change gear at different timings than the manufacturer may have programmed.
In theory, this isn’t a bad thing. It’s a trigger to say ‘change now, change now, change now’ then the accelerator controller decides, instead of the cars factory computer.
That is why these are advertised as a device to get around the car computer which takes an age to process data.
If the throttle controller bypasses or overrides the manufacturer’s settings, can that not be a bad thing? Is it possible to push the engine too hard, too far, too often for its optimal lifetime use?
I did smell something hot and burning on my first trip out but I’ve put it down to a one-off thing and expect it shouldn’t happen again. So far it hasn’t. Maybe I had some carbon build-up or something that needed a good workout.
Possibly not a bad thing but it didn’t make me feel very comfortable.
Ultimately, this controller doesn’t alter your ECU or change the way your turbo operates so I’d like to think it’s just far enough away from the factory unit to not do any lasting damage.
Will a Throttle Controller void my warranty?
There are many car dealers who will sell you one of these when they sell you your vehicle. For this reason, many people think they are OK to use. For many car dealers and warranty situations, they might be but, if the car dealer or car manufacturer really wants to take issue with your iDrive and avoid paying for repairs with the claim that you’ve altered the operating of the engine then I expect they possibly could.
I am not a Lawyer – this is not legal advice – but I think it’s more likely that it depends on the dealer doing the warranty work.
Does the EVC Throttle Controller (iDrive) increase petrol usage?
I put some science into this one. I went for a drive on an open highway with a speed limit of 110kms/70 miles ph.
I ran the iDrive and then turned it off at different parts of the trip. In my head, the car sounded different with the iDrive on at 70 miles per hour / 110kms than with it off. During this testing, that didn’t seem to be the case but I’ll keep testing that.
I went into cruise control and also tried without cruise control. The purpose of cruise control was to remove the variable of my heavy foot on the gas.
I then put the dashboard on to live fuel consumption and watched to see if it changed with and without the EVC/iDrive on.
But just because the fuel didn’t change in that experiment doesn’t mean that a throttle controller doesn’t change the overall fuel consumption.
If my vehicle isn’t responsive does that means it uses less gas overall? If I increase the sensitivity of the throttle does that not mean I am increasing fuel consumption or, is it just more efficient as there are fewer fits-and-starts while driving?
My general expectation would be if the revs are up then the fuel follows? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Bottom Line – Does the EVC Throttle Controller Work?
So much talk and not a lot of feedback to you guys on whether this thing even works.
Bottom line. Yes, it works. It really does what it says. I have been driving on setting U-2. Anything higher just feels like I’m making the engine work hard. I know, it’s ridiculous but I like looking after my toys and this is quite young. Once it’s 10 years old and a beat-up I’ll thrash it with great enthusiasm.
Right now it’s a shiny truck. 🙂
Questions? Comments – drop them below and we can talk more.
Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.
Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.
This post was last updated on 2023-03-20 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.
2 thoughts on “EVC Throttle Controller Review (iDrive) – And Why I Almost Gave it Back”
For crying out loud, it’s no secret how these things work. They do not tell the gearbox when to change gears. The one and only thing they do is change how far the ECU thinks you’re pushed the throttle pedal. It intercepts and alters that signal.
The higher the “U” setting, the more it alters it. Push the pedal to, say, 50%, and U1 may report it as being 52%. U9 may report it as being 65%. That’s all it does. It’s literally the exact same thing as just pushing the pedal down farther with your foot. It does not make the feel accelerate any faster, it just makes it seem that way because you’re used to pushing the pedal down a certain distance and it just simulates you pushing it down farther.
The only “performance gains” you get from something like this is if your leg is too weak to push the pedal all the way down, or too weak to push it down quickly.
The downside is that if 70% gets reported as 90%, and 80% gets reported as 100%, then 85% is also 100%, and 95% is also 100%… the last little bit of pedal travel becomes a useless dead zone.
Is alright to use with a uni chip