Understanding Regenerative Braking in Hybrids and EVs

In addition to running off electricity instead of gasoline, hybrids and electric vehicles (EVs) boast another energy-saving component: regenerative braking. Regenerative braking captures the energy typically lost as heat when a driver brakes. As the car slows down, all the energy being used to go forward dissipates into the brake pads as heat — contributing to brake pad wear — in friction-based braking systems. These traditional systems create stopping friction using brake rotors and brake pads, which connect when the pedal is depressed, as well as between the wheels and the road.

Regenerative brakeing systems use an EV’s motor to convert the kinetic energy lost during deceleration back into energy stored in the car battery. Stored electrical energy is used when it accelerates instead of working harder to use its own energy reserves. The motor operates as a generator to produce more electricity.

Regenerative brakes are most useful in certain driving conditions. They work best in stop-and-go situations, such as heavy traffic or city navigation. All hybrid and electric car braking systems also come with back-up friction brakes to operate when regenerative brakes do not provide enough power to stop the car, such as an emergency stop. The brake pedal may seem to depress more than normal in these circumstances but this does not mean the car will not stop.

The Benefits of Regenerative Braking

Regenerative brakes can be measured in terms of their overall effectiveness. Though an improvement in reusing energy compared to friction-run brakes on most cars, regenerative braking provides more significant benefits in specific driving conditions. Wherever a car stops and brakes frequently, more energy can be stored. Despite their limitations, regenerative brakes offer 3 important advantages:

  1. Fuel Economy. Specifically in hybrid vehicles, the car uses more electricity to power the vehicle instead of reaching into gasoline stores. It aids in lowering overall fuel consumption.

  2. Prolongs Battery Charge. Regenerative brakes do not only aid in acceleration energy. They capture energy that is used to recharge the electric vehicles’ and hybrids’ batteries. The car has an extended charge when incorporating regenerative brake energy.

  3. Brake System Longevity. Regenerative brake systems still include friction brakes to guarantee a vehicle will stop when it needs to. However, the traditional-style brakes aren’t used as often. The regenerative brakes slow down and reduce wear and tear on the braking system.

It’s important to know the total purpose of the system you’re operating. Driving an electric car or hybrid provides a variety of benefits over internal combustion engine-run cars while still working to catch up in other areas, such as driving range and affordability. Regenerative brakes supply some significant advantages in certain driving conditions. Understanding how they work helps the driver in using them most effectively.


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Adam

17 years of experience
88 reviews
Adam
17 years of experience
Honda CR-V - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Delray Beach, Florida
Very happy with Adam. Third time I have used his service. On time, easy to talk to, knowledgeable, and I trust him. Love not having to go to the dealer, and wait hours for the car. The price is given in advance and is less than I pay at the dealer.
Nissan Altima - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Boynton Beach, Florida
He was the very best mechanic I ever had. He knew everything about my car. My car is very old and not everyone is that informed. I won’t let anyone else touch my car.

Nolan

30 years of experience
94 reviews
Nolan
30 years of experience
Jaguar F-Type - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Tucson, Arizona
Great job replacing brake pads and rotors. Very friendly. Did a great job and left the place very clean.
Kia Sorento - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Tucson, Arizona
He asked why I was getting my brakes redone and when I told him he understood and didn’t just rush the job

Duane

25 years of experience
427 reviews
Duane
25 years of experience
Chevrolet G30 Van - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Cardiff By The Sea, California
Duane was on time and professional. He was helpful in answering my questions and explaining his work.
Acura TSX - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Carlsbad, California
Duane was early, knowledgeable and very polite. He found the problem, finished the work quickly and talked me through the recommended next services. Great experience - thank you Duane!

Walter

46 years of experience
197 reviews
Walter
46 years of experience
Honda Accord - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
He was very friendly and got the brakes replaced in a timely manner. I would request Walter for future repairs.

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