Regenerative braking or Regen is a wonderful discovery of automobile science. It turns Your vehicle’s kinetic energy into power that charges Your EV battery to give you power again. WoW, let’s dig simply a bit deeper…

Take a Brake:

Braking is also a power (img:universal science compendium)

If You own an electric car or two wheeler or even a hybrid car, You must know whether it has regenerative braking or not. And if it has, how efficient is that braking system? No, You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to have an idea about Regenerative Braking. It’s not that hard actually. If it was so, I couldn’t have written this for You. Be assured, it’ll not suck.

Braking is Power:

In a normal fuel powered car, when we press the brake pedal, the hydraulic fluid runs down and the resulting pressure clasps the brake discs or brake drums fit on the wheels. As a result a friction is generated that slows and stops the wheels. But the friction also produces heat energy that is unused and wasted as that heat is radiated into the air. The friction of the brakes or drums are not used in regenerative braking system. As one form of energy can be converted into another one , the kinetic energy of the wheels can be partly regenerated as power to charge the EV battery when the EV is in running condition.

How Regenerative Braking Works:

Regenerative Braking simply in a diagram (img:carbiketech)

In an Regenerative Braking system equipped vehicle, the Electric motor can move in both forward and backward direction. Normally when the driver is driving , the motor runs forward to move the wheels forward. Whenever the driver presses the brake pedal intending to stop or slow the vehicle, the electric motor starts to move in reverse. So the motor starts running in backward direction which slows down the wheels. This reverse running of the motors work as generator that converts mechanical energy ( running of wheels) into electrical energy.This electrical energy can charge the EV battery on the go.

Can We Control Regenerative Braking:

Regenerative braking can be contolled. Some cars like Tata Nexon EV Max has Advanced Controlled Regenerative Braking system. On the other hand Tesla cars miss this option. It is more of the independence of the choice of the drivers is the the driver can adjust the intensity of Regeneration according to one’s driving comfortability. Cars having selectable regenerative mode must be more comfortable and advanced than cars having no regenaration or regeneration with no selection of intensity.

How Effective Regenerative Braking is:

Regenerative braking has variable effectiveness that depends on some essential factors of driving like vehicle size, vehicle speed, vehicle terrain ( upward or downward road) ,how frequently one uses brakes, even the condition of the roads. It also depends on factors like type of motors and batteries, type of controllers etc.

The bigger the vehicle size, the heavier it is and has more kinetic energy. Simply the regenerative power will be more.

Again if a vehicle has high speed ,the stronger brake it’ll need. So more kinetic energy and more regenerative power.

If one drives downward, one needs to brake frequently,so more regenerative power than uphill driving that needs less braking.

Again driving in a city in the crowd and crosses needs frequent braking but not in the highways. So City driving is good for battery charging with regenerative system.

One Pedal Drive:

One pedal driving is the unique way to use only the accelerator pedal for both STOP and GO in the Electric cars that have regenerative braking system equipped.

It is possible because the accelerator pedal here is responsible for the movement of the electric motor in both directions. If the driver presses the pedal ,the car moves forward. But if she releases her foot from the pedal the electric motor starts moving reverse resulting in gradual halt of the car. The one pedal driving can be engaged or disengaged using ON/OFF button. As this is a very new technology, drivers may need some time to get used of One Pedal driving.


Learn How one pedal drive works in BMW i3

Regeneration in Four wheelers vs Two Wheelers:

In four wheelers regenerative braking is more effective than two wheelers. A four wheel drive car certainly produces much more kinetic energy than a two wheeler and electric bikes. As four wheelers have more weight and have four wheels, the effectiveness of regeneration is obviously more because of the simple law of physics. But having regenerative braking in electric scooters and bikes has a certain benefit. Because of having regenerative braking, the use of brake pads will be less often which will result in the gain of extended life of the brake pads.

Is Regenerative Braking just a Marketing Tool:

Sometimes Yes. Having Regenerative Braking add a great feature in the portfolio of an EV. It shows the company’s adaptation of new technology that doesn’t let any energy or power to be wasted.

But overall, regenerative braking captures roughly about half of the energy which would have been wasted if there were no regenaration. This can reduce the fuel consumption as much as 25 percent. It saves money as well as saves environment.

Tata Nexon EV Max has a greatly advanced Regen system.


Q1. Do only Electric Cars have regenerative braking?

No ,ICE powered cars can also have regenerative braking. In that case the batteries of the car needed for ignition, lights are charged or powered through regeneration.

Q2. Should I opt for Vehicles with Regenerative Braking?

Of course, as technology is changing, we must change ourselves too. Regenerative braking is a sustainable tool.

Q3. Is Regenerative Braking most effective in four wheelers?

Of Course. In four wheelers regenerative braking can be most used of and more effective.

Q4. Can One Pedal driving suddenly stop the car?

No, One Pedal driving is not for emergency. The car gradually stops to a halt if there is One Pedal driving . The driver may use a hydraulic brake for emergency.

Q5. Name some cars with good Regen system?

Currently,all EVs and Hybrids in USA have Regen system. Some of them have adjustable Regen also. Among some of the best Regen I have found Tata Nexon EV Max, Nissan Leaf, Kia e-Niro and BMW i3.

( feature Image courtesy: InsideEV. All the images used in the article are never intended for copyright violation. We acknowledge sincere gratitude to all the image owners)


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