How Does Regenerative Braking Work?

Published on

December 28, 2023

engineer working on designing regenerative brakes

Understanding Regenerative Braking in EVs Hybrids

Regenerative brakes are part of the structure that qualifies vehicles with an electric motor as energy-saving by maintaining and utilizing the energy released when braking.

Hybrid and other electric vehicles (EVs) use electricity instead of gasoline as a fuel source, but another essential energy-saving consideration must be the regenerative braking component. Regenerative braking retains the energy usually dissipated as heat when the brakes are applied. As the vehicle slows, all the momentum used to go forward disperses into the brake pads in the form of kinetic heat energy in friction-based braking systems. These traditional braking systems generate friction as they decelerate using brake rotors and pads, which come together whenever the brake pedal is applied.

Regenerative braking systems use the EV's motor to convert the kinetic energy lost during deceleration back into potential energy contained in the vehicle's battery. Stored electrical energy is used when the car accelerates. So, instead of working harder to use its energy reserves, the motor operates as a generator to produce additional electricity.

Regenerative brakes are most useful under certain driving conditions such as:

  • Stop-and-go situations,
  • Heavy traffic situations, and
  • Urban city navigation

All hybrid and EV braking systems are equipped with back-up friction brakes that kick in when regenerative brakes do not provide enough braking power to stop the car.

The Benefits of Regenerative Braking

Regenerative brakes are assessed in terms of their overall efficiency. Regenerative braking delivers significant benefits in specific driving conditions as compare to traditional friction braking system-only vehicles. Wherever a car stops and brakes frequently, more energy is stored. These brakes offer three essential advantages:

Prolongs Battery Life

Regenerative brakes aid in acceleration energy and capture energy that is used to recharge the EV and hybrids' batteries, giving these vehicles an extended power source when incorporating regenerative brake energy.

Braking System Durability

Regenerative brake systems include friction brakes to guarantee a vehicle stops appropriately every time; these brakes are not used as much. Regenerative brakes decrease and reduce wear and tear on the overall braking apparatus.

Fuel Economy

Specifically, in hybrid vehicles, the car uses more electricity to power the vehicle, lowering overall fuel consumption.

Understanding how your regenerative brakes work helps you use and maintain them effectively.

If you need hybrid vehicle repair, give one of our auto repair shops a call today!