Braking energy recovery is a technology we find mentioned in the car book of many hybrid and electric cars today. The first cars to recover kinetic energy were those used in Formula 1.
Regenerative braking systems (RBS) are also called kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS). The brake energy recovery system is used by vehicles to recover their kinetic energy during braking.
The recovered energy can also be stored as chemical energy in a battery or supercapacitor, but it is usually also stored as kinetic energy.
The braking energy recovery mechanism converts a vehicle’s kinetic energy into an immediately usable form or stored in the battery.
How energy recovery is done when braking
When vehicles brake, the regenerative braking system captures energy that would otherwise be lost to air and then uses it to recharge the vehicle’s battery or use it immediately.
When you press the brake pedal, the brake discs and pads create friction as they touch, which creates kinetic energy. This energy in classic cars is dissipated in the form of heat, and in electric and hybrid cars it is recovered.
There are two situations when regeneration occurs and electrical energy is created: when the driver presses the brake pedal and when the driver releases the accelerator pedal and the vehicle coasts.
In most eco cars there is a display that shows the energy from the wheels reaching the battery. New regenerative braking systems can recover up to 70% of the kinetic energy otherwise lost during braking.
Most of the time, regenerative braking systems rely more on the engine, which acts as a generator when the driver is not accelerating. Therefore, drivers no longer have to use conventional brakes, extending the life of the brake pads.
Disadvantages of regenerative braking
- Regenerative braking is not effective at low speeds in the city;
- Some drivers may find that it does not offer comfort as the mowing is not as smooth as in a normal car. Regenerative brakes do not have the same stopping power as conventional brakes and cause drivers to apply the brakes harder;
- In snowy or icy conditions, some electric cars may experience loss of traction during regenerative braking;
- Regenerative braking may be limited if the battery is too cold. As you drive, the battery heats up and the regenerative power increases.
How much energy does regenerative braking recover?
For electric vehicles, regenerative braking can save up to 75% of the energy that would be wasted by conventional braking. For hybrid or classic cars, it can reduce fuel consumption by 10 to 20%.
Regenerative braking can extend the range of electric vehicles, improving battery efficiency by 16-25%, depending on speed.
In addition, regenerative braking can bring a vehicle to a complete stop if it has the One pedal driving function. Obviously, compared to classic brakes, the complete stopping distance will be longer.
In some car models, the regenerative braking system charges the battery only when the car is moving, braking or decelerating. During acceleration, the alternator is decoupled from the transmission, resulting in better fuel economy and improved performance.
VIDEO: Ways to use regenerative braking
When regenerative braking was first discovered
In 1886 the Sprague Electric Railway & Motor Company, founded by Frank J. Sprague, introduced two inventions: a constant-speed, sparkless, fixed-brush motor and regenerative braking.
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