Essential Brake Repair
Regenerative Braking Explained
Regenerative braking isn’t a new concept, having been introduced over two decades ago, but it has only recently become prevalent as more and more people buy hybrid cars. However, many people still aren’t quite certain how regenerative braking can be so beneficial. Well, it solves the problem of wasted energy. Traditionally, when you apply the brakes in your vehicle, all the momentum you have built up to speed on the road is lost as you decelerate. In an ideal world, you would accelerate to the desired speed and not apply the brakes until you reach your destination. That way, you wouldn’t lose any of the energy generated by the engine by braking. However, this is just not feasible for a car on normal roads. We often have to brake and speed back up. That energy was lost until regenerative braking.
At first, regenerative braking was a logical method of increasing the range in hybrid and electric vehicles. More recently, they have been able to apply the same principles in electric scooters, bicycles, and skateboards. The idea is that the energy lost when you apply the brakes is stored back into the battery. For example, you’re driving 60 mph down the road and need to decelerate as another vehicle turns in front of you. As your braking system slows your vehicle, that potential energy from the engine that is no longer being used to accelerate is converted by the engine and stored in the battery. When you are ready to accelerate again, your engine will make use of that newly converted energy before it accesses its reserves.
Along with good driving habits and a hybrid engine, regenerative braking adds further environmental and economic benefits to owning a hybrid vehicle. Becoming more aware of how you brake and avoiding braking unnecessarily can have further benefits—avoiding distractions. At the same time, driving will give you a better chance of seeing hazards with enough time to brake safely. Giving enough space between your bumper and the vehicle in front of you will mean you have more time to react to the driver if you need to. Hybrid vehicles have no shortage of technology to increase your vehicle’s efficiency and reduce its impact on the environment. Your driving can make it even more effective.