What is Regenerative Braking?

What is Regenerative Braking?

A fixture in cars like plug-in hybrids, regenerative braking allows you to get better fuel economy. Here are the nuts and bolts of how it works.

Which Cars Have Regenerative Braking?

Regenerative brakes in cars can be found in electric vehicles (EVs), hybrid vehicles, and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

(Soon, these types of brakes may even be in all types of new vehicles, hybrid or not, due to stricter fuel economy rules and regulations).

The Nuts and Bolts

As you may have already guessed, regenerative braking begins with the act of braking.

While conventional braking systems/ vehicles waste the energy that gets produced by the act of braking (it’s released as heat), vehicles of the regenerative braking variety recover it.

The process involves the recycling of the electric current that gets produced when you hit the brakes, by enabling it to flow back through your vehicle’s wheel/ gearbox/ motor/ controller/ and into battery system.

When this process of regeneration occurs, it results in the vehicle’s battery receiving a charge.

This charge equates to recovered energy that can both power your car AND make it more efficient.

How Does Regenerative Braking Work in Cars?

In an interesting juxtaposition, vehicles with regenerative brakes are able to use their motor to drive the wheels AND use their wheels to drive the motor.

The act of regenerative braking itself occurs when

  • the brake pedal is applied
  • the accelerator pedal is released

Remember, the proportion of regenerative braking varies with the vehicle’s speed and the time of brake application.

Moreover, in situations where you have to brake very quickly, your regenerative brake vehicle will rely on its disc brakes, which are located in the vehicle’s axle area.

Why Should I own a Vehicle With Regenerative Brakes?

Reasons for owning a vehicle that can brake in a regenerative fashion include

  • Extended driving range
  • Improved brake efficiency
  • Reduced brake wear
  • Improved energy conversation
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