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What is Regenerative Braking?

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2019 Chevrolet Volt

It’s common for drivers to have a love/hate relationship with brakes. Brakes are a vital safety component that enables us to stop our vehicles at the necessary stop lights and to avoid colliding with pedestrians, other autos, and animals. Though, it can be frustrating how expensive brake system repairs can be, we couldn’t enjoy the freedom of driving without this crucial car part. 

As more consumers start adopting hybrids and electric vehicles (EVs), a new type of braking system dubbed “regenerative braking” has emerged. Discover the difference between conventional braking systems and this innovative technology.

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Traditional braking

With a conventional braking system, you step on the brake pedal, causing the brake’s surface to push against the hub’s spinning disk or drum. This expends a lot of energy, however, in the form of heat, which in turn, escapes into the environment

Regenerative braking

Like its name implies, regenerative braking seeks to reuse the energy that conventional brakes waste to help power the vehicle. When you step down on the brake pedal, this triggers the generator to produce more power. This causes resistance which causes the vehicle to slow down. The electricity flows to the vehicle’s battery pack, to replenish the car’s charge.

Regenerative braking is best for stop-and-go city traffic, rather than long drives with few stops along the way. That’s because each time you stop at a traffic light, the regenerative braking system transfers the kinetic energy to repower the battery. This helps propel the car when the light changes and it’s time to accelerate.

Watch this brief video, for a visual illustration of the regenerative braking process.


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News Source: U.S. News & World Report