What is regenerative braking and why is it so useful in electric vehicles?

You may have heard of regenerative braking previously but have been unsure what it actually is. Regardless of this, it is a very useful function in modern vehicles that can have a plethora of benefits for both the driver and the vehicle itself. Here we will discuss the process of regenerative braking and why it is renowned for being one of the most beneficial functions of electric and hybrid vehicles.

What is regenerative braking?

Regenerative braking is a mechanism exclusive to hybrid and electric vehicles like the Corsa-e, that encapsulates the kinetic energy from braking and converts it into electric energy that is then able to charge the battery of the vehicle. Essentially, the energy from the wheels is used to reverse the direction of the electricity from the motor of the car to the electrical battery. All that is needed to begin this process is for the accelerator to be eased and, in some cases, the brake pedal to be applied. Additionally, it allows the vehicles to slow down alongside the use of the standard brakes found in all other vehicles.

Less wear and tear on the brake pads

Electric vehicles all have conventional hydraulic brakes as well as regenerative braking. It is the regenerative braking that provides most of the force to stop the vehicle, meaning that the standard brakes are used much less frequently than diesel- or petrol-powered vehicles. Consequently, electric cars can last for longer periods between servicing, saving maintenance expenses. Regardless, the brakes must still be checked regularly to ensure they meet regulations and are responsive.

Lasts longer per charge

One of the main worries about electric vehicles is whether they can manage long journeys without having to recharge. However, regenerative braking has the potential to add an abundance of miles onto a journey, meaning less time charging and more time on the road. It does this by capturing the energy from braking and delivering it back to the battery. As this process mitigates the need to charge the vehicle as often, it can help to reduce the release of carbon emissions when electricity is produced.

Improves the efficiency of hybrid vehicles

Hybrid vehicles may still rely on a combustible engine, although they are optimised to use the electric motor when possible. As regenerative braking enables the electric battery to remain charged for longer, these vehicles do not need to use the other engine as often, which reduces the consumption of fuel and can save the owner money in the long run.

Katherine E. Ackerman

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