Has it ever occurred to you that every time you step on the brake pedal, you’re wasting energy? Here is how it happens. The thumb rule in physics is, energy can never be destroyed. So every time your car slows down or stops, the kinetic energy that kept the car moving by propelling it forward is forced to go somewhere. Most, if not all of it, dissipates as heat. It then becomes useless. That energy, which could have been easily used to work, essentially gets wasted. That is exactly where regenerative or electric braking comes into the picture. The concept behind it is simple yet effective. It is all about recapturing the kinetic energy that propels the car to move forward then converting it into electricity that can be sued to recharge the car battery. Read on to learn more.
How It Works
Traditional braking systems use brake pads with brake rotors. This slows down the car or stops it completely. Additional friction gets produced between the slowing wheels and the road surface. This friction turns the car’s kinetic energy into instant heat. This is different with regenerative braking. The system that drives the vehicle is the one that does most of the braking. When you step on the brake pedal of a hybrid or electric Volvo car, regenerative brakes quickly put the car’s motor into reverse mode. As the motor runs backwards, the wheels slow and eventually stop. The motor acts as an electric generator when running backwards.it produced electricity, which is then fed into the car batteries.
You may have noticed that electric and hybrid cars use regenerative and friction brakes. This is deliberate so as to enhance safety. Friction brakes come in handy in tough situations where regenerative brakes do not supply enough stopping power. In short, friction brakes act as backups. That explains why sometimes the brake pedal of a hybrid or electric car responds differently to pressure.
The Braking Controller
This is without a doubt the most important part of the braking circuitry in any car that uses the regenerative braking system. It is a device that id designed to control brakes remotely. That is, it can decide when braking begins and when it ends. It can also decide how quickly brakes need to be applied. For instance, in towing situations, brake controllers provide means of coordinating trailer brakes with the brakes of the vehicle that does the towing. This is something that friction brakes cannot do.
ABS Systems And Regenerative Systems
Regenerative braking works in conjunction with anti-lock brake systems aptly referred to as ABS systems. As a matter of fact, there is little difference between ABS systems and regenerative brake systems. Both can easily monitor factors like rotational speed of all wheels as well as the difference in that speed from one wheel to another. Regenerative systems have a slight advantage though. They can not only monitor the speed of rotating wheels, but also the amount or torque and rotational force that is available for purposes of generating electricity that should be fed back into the car batteries.