As most of you might know nearly all of the fully electric and hybrid vehicles sold these days come equipped with a technology called Regenerative Braking. A non-electric powered car that comes equipped with ordinary run-of-the-mill brakes, this breaks system takes the kinetic energy of a moving vehicle and essentially converts it to heat when we apply the brakes in order to slow down. However, with regenerative brakes, the same kinetic energy is used to charge up the batteries.
But how exactly does this regenerative braking system work? Electric & hybrid vehicles are powered by electric motors connected to batteries. When you are in motion, energy flows from the batteries to the motor, which in turn rotate the wheels and provides you with the kinetic energy that you need to move. Whenever you apply the brakes, the entire process goes into reverse. Power is cut off from the electric motors, but the vehicle’s momentum keeps motor into motion.In essence, the electric motor now functions like a generator. It creates electricity rather than consuming it, power flows back from this motor-generator to the batteries, charging them up. So a good proportion of the energy you lose by braking is returned to the batteries and can be reused when you start off again.The regenerative braking system is also pretty universal and its the same system available in an ordinary Toyota Prius or a multi million dollar hypercar such as the Porsche 918 Spyder.
Regenerative braking comes with a host of benefits, it utilizes energy that would otherwise be wasted. It also increases the range of your hybrid and electric powered vehicles, and it can even take a significant amount of stress off your ordinary mechanical brakes translating into reduced maintenance costs. But regenerative brakes do have their downsides, for one they take a longer amount of time to slow vehicles down compared to ordinary mechanical brakes, so most vehicles that come equipped with a regenerative braking system also have mechanical brakes working alongside them in tandem. This is a very important fail-safe safety feature, as these mechanical brakes can act as a backup in case the regenerative braking system fails.