What Is Regenerative Braking?

What Is Regenerative Braking?

Someday, it will be as normal as standard friction braking.

One thing that all passenger cars and trucks have in common is the braking system. Electric and hybrid vehicles have brake pads like their conventional cousins, but with a twist. In standard friction brake systems, the energy created from applying the brakes is dissipated into the air as heat. In regenerative brake systems, this energy is sent to the batteries to be used later. The connection between the tires and the battery packs is linked via the traction motors that turn into generators. The alternator is an electric motor mounted between the engine and transmission or inside the transmission in a hybrid vehicle.

Instead of immediately applying hydraulic pressure to conventional brakes, regen brake pressure is calculated by ABS modules to produce the correct pedal feel and stopping power. The modules that control a hybrid or EV brake by wire system via the traction motor inside the transmission are used to recharge the battery as the vehicle slows down. The more regenerative braking means there’s more electrical charge generated for the battery. The drag created by the generator is used to slow down the vehicle. The hydraulic brakes take over for the final few mph to bring the car to a stop on some hybrids and EVs. However, the balance between regen and standard braking is a hotly debated topic for the electric crowd.

Tesla has been using regen braking from the beginning and has continued developing the system to the point where some drivers can drive with one pedal (no brake pedal necessary). Tesla uses advanced algorithms in the motor controller to complete control of the motor torque for both driving and regenerative braking. Torque (or power) is applied depending on the position of the throttle pedal. The torque command can be used to accelerate or decelerate and recharge. So when the driver lifts off the throttle, the energy is returned to the battery, thus creating regen.

These days, it’s common to see a hybrid with 70,000 or 100,000 miles and still have the original brake pads! With regenerative braking creating the majority of braking force, brake pads wear at a much slower rate. However, the more significant issue is containing any corrosion between the brake pads and baking plate, which is why a high-quality pad with anti-corrosive material is so important.

The hydraulic brakes aren’t applied on early Prius models until the speed is less than 7 mph or the driver makes a sudden stop. Most of the time, the regen system is in use, and the pads won’t be up to operating temperature.

Since it’s impossible to perform a conventional break-in/bedding procedure, be sure the pad materials can perform right out of the box. As most drivers are used to conventional braking, it may take time for new drivers of hybrid and electric vehicles to adapt to the feel of regen brakes. Still, most people adapt quickly and prefer the motor braking aspect vs. the hydraulic clamping force used in a traditional system. Everyone will drive a hybrid or electric vehicle someday, and regen braking will be as normal as standard friction braking.

You May Also Like

The Hidden Expense of Inexpensive Brake Pads

With premium products, it’s often the “extras” that people don’t consider when comparing them to lesser brands.

Like many product lines in our inventories, brake pads are often dual or even triple lined. To service a wide variety of vehicles and customer types in a dynamic market, it has become a necessity to offer various price points on one of the most critical safety items we offer. 

AAPEX Web Training Series Set to Begin This Month

Online educational series to run from May to October, costing attendees nothing.

Ratchet Basics

The tool that pivots its head back and forth to turn a fastener is indispensable to most vehicle repair procedures.

Do You Suffer From CED? Good News – It’s Curable

The creep of Customer Experience Decline can take hold if you allow your shop to lose focus.

Tool Time Podcast: CTA Tools

Nadine Battah and Eric Garbe learn about CTA Tools’ history and innovative technology.

Other Posts
Brake Boosters: Enhancing Braking Power

Learn about vacuum brake boosters, their evolution, maintenance, and the importance of components like check valves and filters in ensuring reliable braking performance.

Brake Boosters: Enhancing Braking Power
HELLA PAGID Launches Semi-Metallic Brake Pad Line

The new brake pad line “delivers exceptional performance while maintaining the highest standards of safety and reliability, the company said.

Hella-Pagid-brake-pads
Brake Lines and Hoses: Inspecting for Wear and Preventing Brake Failure

Discover the secrets to maintaining safe brakes with our comprehensive guide to inspecting brake lines and hoses.

MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers’ BMC to Host Summer Meeting

The Brake Manufacturers Council meeting will be held on May 31, in Naples, Florida.