How Does Regenerative Braking Work in Hybrids and EVs?

The only purpose of hybrids or electric vehicles (EVs) is to save energy, specifically, fossil fuel energy. Both types of vehicles have different ways of doing this beyond relying on an electric component for power.

One way that is not well known is regenerative brakes.

Part of the Whole

Regenerative braking systems work by capturing the energy that normally would be absorbed by brake pads and rotors and using it to fuel the energy loop that lets these vehicles perform as well as their fossil fuel-consuming cousins.

Without it, hybrids and EV's would have to depend more on battery banks, which begin losing a charge as soon as they are activated. Regenerative braking creates a cycle by which a vehicle is operated, brakes and converts braking energy into usable energy for future operation.

Traditional Brakes

When a vehicle decelerates, the energy used to move forward transfers into the brake pads in the form of heat via friction. Not only does this energy conversion result in lost energy, it also contributes to the wearing down of brake pads and rotors.

Regenerative Braking

Regenerative braking is employed to capture some of that energy that is usually lost to heat transfer in a traditional braking system.

When the brake pedal is applied, the vehicle's electric motor switches to generator mode. As the vehicle slows, the wheels transfer energy from the wheels to the generator via the drive train.

Working in Tandem

Regenerative braking is not sufficient by itself to stop a vehicle except at very low speeds. All hybrids and EV's use some form of regenerative braking with traditional friction braking to slow a vehicle; this is called blended torque.

Benefits

Regenerative braking provides multiple benefits:

  • Energy Savings and Collection that would normally be wasted via heat in the brake pads,

  • Prolonged Hybrid/EV Battery Charge via the converted energy,

  • Less Wear and Tear on the braking system,

  • Overall Environmental Benefits by using fewer fossil fuels.

Regenerative braking is one of the technological feats of today's hybrids and EVs. If you need hybrid vehicle repair, give our auto repair shop a call today.

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