How Regenerative Braking Powers Electric Vehicles ?

People who have driven electric vehicles (EVs) have likely experienced regenerative braking, a feature that may feel unusual to those new to it.

In simple terms, when you would typically use the brake pedal, you can instead lift your foot off the accelerator pedal, and the vehicle will immediately start to slow down. Some EVs even allow you to adjust the intensity of regenerative braking. For example, early versions of Tesla had a “Strong” setting, providing a braking effect similar to moderate brake pedal use when lifting off the accelerator.

Once drivers get used to EVs, many tend to avoid using the brake pedal whenever possible. Some can go for entire commutes, only using the accelerator pedal to control the vehicle, and tapping the brake pedal only when coming to a complete stop. This practice can extend the lifespan of brake pads, often remaining nearly new even after covering substantial distances, like 50,000 kilometers.

Regenerative Braking

Technology Inspired by F1 Racing

Regenerative braking technology didn’t originate from electric vehicles but has its roots in Formula 1 (F1) racing over a decade ago. F1 sought innovations both for achieving higher speeds and adhering to strict physical performance limits set by racing authorities.

Renault’s F1 team, for instance, developed a regenerative system in 2007 using a flywheel to store energy instead of batteries. This system harnessed the intense braking moments before corners, converting kinetic energy into stored energy. While F1 applications focus on short bursts of maximum power, everyday EV use allows for more energy-efficient designs.

Advantages of Regenerative Braking

Regenerative braking can significantly save energy. For instance, a Tesla Model 3 with 38,000 kilometers of mileage showed that out of a total consumption of 7600 kWh, 2470 kWh were regenerated through regenerative braking. This means that for every 1000 kilometers driven, regenerative braking could add an extra 320 kilometers of range.

Apart from energy savings and extended range, regenerative braking can surprise you in unique scenarios. For instance, driving downhill during an event in China, a Tesla owner ended up with more range than expected due to efficient regenerative braking on the descent.

energy recovery

Efficiency Differences in Hybrid Cars

However, not all vehicles exhibit the same efficiency in regenerative braking. Hybrid cars, in general, have lower efficiency compared to pure electric vehicles, and this is mainly attributed to their battery capacity.

Hybrids typically have smaller battery capacities, meaning lower charging power. For example, if a hybrid’s battery is 30 kWh, and it supports 1C charging, the maximum regenerative power during braking would be less than 30 kW. This limits the ability to capture the full kinetic energy during aggressive braking scenarios.

Challenges and Considerations

Efficiency in regenerative braking can vary during different stages of battery charging. At battery levels close to 100%, regenerative braking efficiency tends to decrease due to lithium-ion battery charging characteristics. In the final stage of charging, when the battery approaches full capacity, it cannot absorb large currents efficiently.

Some vehicles even disable regenerative braking automatically when the battery level exceeds 90%, relying on traditional friction brakes to slow down the vehicle. This is because, at such high charge levels, the regenerative system becomes less effective, and relying on friction brakes becomes necessary for deceleration.

Understanding these nuances in regenerative braking helps drivers make the most of this technology while also considering the specific capabilities and limitations of their EVs.

About Miles Energy

Miles Energy is a professional and reliable ev charger and ev charging cable supplier in China. We have an experienced team of over 10 years in ev charging industry and offer customized the ev chargers, CKD, and SKD solutions for DC charging stations.

Please contact us to let us know how we can help your business with EV charging.

Update cookies preferences
Scroll to Top