Regenerative braking technology and its effectiveness, efficiency in electric vehicles.


Credit: Automotive iQ


The term regenerative braking is familiar along with electric and hybrid vehicle technology. In an electric vehicle, regenerative braking is a key feature to save power and make vehicles more efficient. This energy saving technology is under continues research and upgradation by the automakers. 

In this article, you can understand how regenerative braking works and its effectiveness in various vehicles.

While motion, vehicles will have a lot of kinetic energy. When brakes are applied to slow down the vehicle, the kinetic energy has to go somewhere and in conventional IC Engine vehicles, this energy is wasted into heat energy. So all of that energy is lost to environment in the form of heat.

Regenerative braking technology converts this kinetic energy lost into electricity and stores in battery. Electric motor acts as a generator and converts this kinetic energy losing while braking and stores in the battery with the help of an inverter. When vehicle accelerates next time, it uses this stored energy instead of using energy from its reserve energy.

Power flow in regenerative braking. Credit: CVEL

Power flow of energy in electric vehicle during acceleration and deceleration is shown above. Though regenerative braking technology does not increase the range of electric vehicle largely, it makes EVs less inefficient and use wasted energy usefully. Regenerative technology has various outcomes in different types of vehicles. In electric cars, buses, two wheelers, the efficiency of regenerative braking is different. To know more about the technology in these vehicles, we need to consider the Efficiency and Effectiveness of the regenerative braking.

Efficiency of regenerative braking means how well it captures the wasted energy and stores in the battery. In this area, there will be many losses while capturing and converting the energy. Roughly, around 10-20% energy loss will be there in regenerative braking during both capturing and converting process. Also advantage of regenerative technology depends on how much time we apply the brake and generates energy apart from its efficiency.

Effectiveness in terms of regenerative braking is that what impact it makes on range of the vehicle. We really have to check is it feasible on every types of vehicles. It depends on various conditions like Driving terrain, Conditions and size of the vehicle. In heavy traffic, we apply brake more than normal conditions and in downhill conditions also. This produces more regenerative energy and continuously charges the battery. This improves the effectiveness of the technology.

Also size of the vehicle is also an important factor because bigger vehicles have more kinetic energy that small ones. For example we can say, an electric car has more kinetic energy than two wheeler in moving condition. So size of the vehicle plays a big role in effectiveness of regenerative braking technology. In smaller vehicles regenerative braking will nor be feasible and effective as they don't carry much momentum and have less energy to convert back into battery.

On commercial basis, we can say regenerative braking is only effective and feasible on large vehicles like electric cars, buses, trucks etc. In two wheelers and e-scooters, regenerative braking is more a marketing material than power generation technique. But it has a multitude of advantage like it gives better braking , longer life to braking pads.

Share your thoughts and join the conversation. Keep Reading.


  1. Is it a good idea to combine the lithium battery with super capacitors? As lithium batteries lifetime might be affected by the huge breaking currents and capacitors don't have problems with that.

    1. Combination of Li ion and super capacitors are already under research by many companies. It is termed as Li ion capacitors or hybrid capacitors. Anode has characteristics of li ion and cathode of super capacitor. This technology is still under development stage.

  2. This system will be of great advantage in trains.


Post a Comment

Please do not enter any spam link in the comment box.