What is Regenerative Braking?
Everyone knows that a vehicle’s brakes are used to slow it down. However, the modern automobile engineers wanted to take it a step further, so they came up with the idea of harnessing the energy spent while braking to power the vehicle. For example, if you drive a hybrid car, the “hybrid energy” that replenishes the battery typically comes from braking energy.
To understand how regenerative braking works, you must first understand how a traditional brake system works. When you press down on the brake pedal, friction is created between the discs and the brake pads. As a result of the friction, kinetic energy is created, which then dissipates as heat into the surroundings.
Regenerative braking turns part of the kinetic energy that would otherwise be converted to heat into electricity. During acceleration or casual cruising, the engine drives the wheels, while during deceleration, the wheels drive the motor. This two-way energy transfer enables the motor to function as a generator, resisting wheel motion and producing power to recharge the vehicle’s battery.
When does regeneration happen?
1. When the brakes are applied.
2. As the car is coasting when the driver releases the accelerator pedal.
In both cases, the technique creates electricity to recharge the battery. The vehicle’s charge gauge, which shows energy flowing from the wheels to the batteries, can show this regenerative effect.
The amount of braking force delivered is related to the amount of power produced by the system. That is, the stronger the braking force, the larger the electrical current. Finally, the vehicle’s speed and the length of time the brakes are applied can affect the amount of energy gathered by the system.
When braking, the system splits the braking power between energy regeneration and the standard brake system. The technology achieves the dual aim of slowing the automobile down while simultaneously charging the battery, resulting in improved fuel efficiency and electric driving range.
Curious to see regenerative braking in action for yourself? Check out our inventory of hybrid vehicles at any of our six dealerships serving Northwest Arkansas. If you find one you’d test drive, one of our friendly sales associates would be happy to answer any questions you may have!