What is VTEC?
VTEC stands for Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control. It involves mechanical and electrical components of a particular valvetrain system developed for Honda car engines. Its basic concept involves two profiles for the camshaft setup in which the VTEC system is able to electronically choose either camshaft with increased efficiency. This allows for multiple camshafts to be handled by the electronic part of the VTEC system.
The VTEC system was considered the pioneer in multiple camshaft support in a car’s valvetrain system. It was Ikuo Kajitani, a R&D engineer of Honda, who invented this particular system. At first, Honda developed VTEC to improve the engine’s power output and possibly increase it to 100PS per liter. This idea was supposed to help engines of vehicles that are intended for mass production. As development continued on this engine valvetrain system, improvements in other areas were also sought, like maximizing the use of fuel to improve usage and efficiency, and in the design of variable timing of the valves. It was in 1983 when HONDA first released their original version of the VTEC called HYPER VTEC.
It is said that over time, car makers and manufacturers continue work on developing more efficient engines in terms of balancing between power or performance and fuel efficiency or economy. And it is through the engine’s camshafts, that car makers like Honda are targeting further development and improvements to achieve the features of VTEC technology. Before VTEC technology is available, engines had “milder” grinds on their camshafts which results to less horsepower at high RPMs. These resulting factors are typically attributed to a condition wherein there is not enough air or fuel. VTEC engines meanwhile are specifically designed to increase the engine’s power output without necessarily consuming too much fuel in the process.
VTEC was also first released on engines with the DOHC or Double Overhead Camshaft setup, but later developed also for SOHC or Single Overhead Camshaft setups due to its popularity. Over the years, updates and improvements were made to the VTEC technology or system and today, even Honda motorcycles are equipped with this Honda-pioneered technology.