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What is Regenerative Braking

What is Regenerative Braking

Hybrid and electric vehicles apply battery technology, aerodynamics, and other engineering advancements to achieve efficiency in driving. One such feature employed by these energy-saving vehicles is regenerative braking. Regenerative braking captures energy that is otherwise lost during braking and then uses this power to help recharge the vehicle's battery.

How Regenerative Braking Works

Understanding how regenerative braking works first requires knowledge of how a conventional braking system operates. When you step on a vehicle's brake pedal, the discs and the brake pads create friction as they meet. In turn, the friction creates kinetic energy that dissipates into the environment in the form of heat. 

Regenerative braking recovers some of the kinetic energy that would otherwise turn into heat and instead converts it into electricity. In this system, the motor drives the wheels during acceleration or cruising, but the wheels drive the motor while decelerating. This two-way energy flow allows the motor to act as a generator, resisting the rotation of the wheels and creating electricity to recharge the vehicle's battery.

There are two conditions when regeneration occurs: 

1. When the driver applies the brake pedal

2. When the driver releases the accelerator pedal, and the vehicle is coasting

In both cases, the system creates electricity to recharge the battery. Drivers can view this regenerative effect on the vehicle's charging gauge, which shows it as energy flowing from the wheels to the battery.

The amount of electricity the system generates is proportional to the level of braking force. That means the stronger the braking force, the greater the electrical current. Ultimately, the amount of energy the system captures is dependent on the vehicle's speed and the duration of brake application.

When braking, the system automatically allocates some portion of the braking force to energy regeneration and some to the conventional brake system. This way, the system simultaneously achieves the dual purpose of slowing the vehicle down and recharging the battery for improved efficiency and greater electric driving range.

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