Honda's VTEC system is a simple method of endowing the engine with multiple camshaft profiles optimized for low and high RPM operations. Instead of one cam lobe actuating each valve, there are two: one optimized for low-RPM stability & fuel efficiency; the other designed to maximize high-RPM power output. Switching between the two cam lobes is controlled by the ECU which takes account of engine oil pressure, engine temperature, vehicle speed, engine speed and throttle position. Using these inputs, the ECU is programmed to switch from the low lift to the high lift cam lobes when the conditions mean that engine output will be improved. At the switch point a solenoid is actuated which allows oil pressure from a spool valve to operate a locking pin which binds the high RPM cam follower to the low rpm ones. From this point on, the poppet valve opens and closes according to the high-lift profile, which opens the valve further and for a longer time. The switch-over point is variable, between a minimum and maximum point, and is determined by engine load; the switch back from high to low rpm cams is set to occur at a lower engine speed than the up-switch, to avoid engine is asked to operate continuously at or around the switch-over point.
Introduced as a DOHC system in the 1989 Honda Integra and Civic CRX SiR models sold in Japan and Europe, which used a 160 bhp (119 kW) variant of the B16A engine. The US market saw the first VTEC system with the introduction of the 1990 Acura NSX, which used a DOHC VTEC V6 with 270 hp (200 kW). DOHC VTEC engines soon appeared in other vehicles, such as the 1992 Acura Integra GS-R (B17A 1.7 liter engine). And later in the 1993 Honda Prelude VTEC (H22 2.2 liter engine with 195hp) and Honda Del Sol VTEC (B16 1.6 liter engine). Honda has also continued to develop other varieties and today offers several varieties of VTEC: iVTEC, iVTEC Hybrid and VTEC in the NSX and some Japanese domestic market cars.