You’ve probably heard of regenerative braking, the recent technology that allows electric vehicles to recover energy lost in the braking process and put it to good use. But what is it and how does it work?
Traditional brakes use pads to apply friction to the rotating wheels which slows and eventually stops your whole vehicle. Energy is never destroyed, and the kinetic energy of your moving vehicle is lost as heat, and lots of it.
Regenerative brakes work differently. When the brakes are pressed, your car’s electric motor runs in reverse. This creates resistance against the turning wheels and slows the vehicle independently of the brake pads. The momentum of the car is then converted into electric energy and stored back in the battery.
The energy recovered from regenerative brakes is not quite equal to all the energy spent to get the car moving. Some of it is lost in friction between the road and the wheels as well as air resistance, but this is significantly better than losing all of the energy as heat.
These small bursts of recovered energy are not much on their own, but they work well in a situation like city driving where stop and go traffic is the norm. The cumulative effect of multiple stops will noticeably increase your vehicle’s driving range, especially since most cars with Regenerative Brakes are electric and hybrid where the battery charge is important.
Regenerative brakes don’t replace the entire braking system on a car: It acts as a sort of braking aid. Hybrid and electric cars still have normal brake pads, but regenerative braking reduces some of the pressure and heat on your normal brake pads and restores some energy to your engine free of charge.
If you’d like to know more about regenerative braking or are interested in finding a hybrid, visit us at Mama's Used Cars and we’ll be glad to help.