Every time we hit the brakes on a moving car,
All the energy that the engine has supplied to the wheels goes to waste. In other words, the kinetic energy that is used to power the
Wheels are converted into heat when brakes are applied. The heat generated is of no use
And thus we waste valuable energy.
Engineers have come up with a method to use the braking energy to be converted
Into electrical energy and recharge the battery. This method of using the energy of braking to transform into electrical energy is known as Regenerative Braking.
This system captures most of the kinetic energy and converts into electricity,
Which can recharge the battery? This system is used more commonly in hybrid and
Electric cars because it is imperative to recharge the batteries to make the car run longer.
How does braking waste energy?
Any normal guy driving a car would think that he is not wasting much energy in applying the brakes, because he is just using his foot to press the pedal. It doesn’t require a huge amount of force to apply pressure on the brake pedal and bring the car to a stop. So how are we wasting energy while braking?
Look at the above scenario from an engine’s perspective.
Engine does all the work to generate power and
Supply it in the form of kinetic energy to the wheels.
Much energy is used in the form of fuel to give the wheels the momentum.
The car’s momentum is lost when brakes are applied and
It either slows down or comes to a halt.
All the kinetic energy is wasted in the form of heat due to the friction between the brake pads and the drum. Now to start the car again from the start requires more fuel to provide the momentum. Hence, we are wasting a lot of valuable energy while braking.
Regenerative Braking System:
As already mentioned,
For hybrid and electric vehicles regenerative braking technology is used;
Because the wheels of these cars are powered by electric motors.
The electric motors convert the electrical
Energy from the battery into kinetic energy which drives the wheels.
During braking action, instead of using brake pads,
The electric motor starts rotating in reverse direction.
When the driver steps on the brake pedal,
The electric motor switches to generator mode by
Reversing its direction of rotation. Through its rotation,
The generator converts a portion of the kinetic energy into
Electrical energy. This electrical energy is then stored in a high voltage battery. As a result of this electricity generation,
Generative braking torque is produced by the motor which decelerates the wheels.
However, the generative braking torque won’t be sufficient to completely halt the vehicle. Therefore, once the vehicle is decelerated to a low speed,
Conventional friction brakes (disc or drum brake)
Further, assist in stopping the wheels.
In the case of an emergency where a vehicle has to be stopped immediately,
Only friction brakes will be used. Regenerative brakes are more useful in stopping a slow-moving vehicle.
Advantages of Regenerative Braking:
- It enables an extended battery range in electric vehicles.
- Reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in hybrid vehicles.
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