What Is Regenerative Braking | How Does It Work?

By Max Anthony •  Updated: 08/03/21 •  4 min read

Regenerative braking is a power recovery system that converts kinetic energy in a stationary vehicle or implements it into a usable form by converting its mechanical energy into some other form before the device reacts. 

Live Mechanic Help 24/7
Chat With A Mechanic Online

Connect with a verified mechanic in minutes. No appointments. No high fees. No waiting. Get back on the road and enjoy the ride.

The braking effect is similar to that of an electric motor, as it uses the same mechanisms and is generally referred to as an “EQi” system. The concept was first patented in 1997 by Kazuoaki Aoyagi who received US Patent Number 459627, and the technique was initially adapted for use on electric trains in Japan.

Regenerative Braking In Hybrid Cars

Today the regenerative braking concept has found application not only on electric vehicles but also on hybrid electric cars and magnetic and hybrid sailboats. 

Amongst the benefits of this technology is that it greatly reduces emissions while increasing fuel economy. It also provides a cost-efficient solution for hauling cargo over long distances. 

 Regenerative Braking
in the bag solutions © Flickr

This method of energy recovery allows power plants to recover most of their non-utilized power which allows them to focus on higher capacity generating stations. 

In addition, this technology is expected to contribute towards reducing global warming by minimizing fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion.

Live Mechanic Help 24/7
Chat With A Mechanic Online

Connect with a verified mechanic in minutes. No appointments. No high fees. No waiting. Get back on the road and enjoy the ride.

Regenerative Braking Is Like A Cruise Control System 

A regenerative braking system functions much like a Cruise Control system on a car. Many companies have adopted this concept to make electric bicycles. 

These bicycles have individual pedal banks that are individually triggered by a sensor to actuate the braking process. The same principle is applied to these systems and unlike standard brakes, there is no need for pressure or power on the pedal. They work on the principle of frictionless braking.

While some believe that electric cars will never catch on, companies are investing huge amounts in research for making hybrid electric cars a reality shortly. One such development is known as regenerative braking.

Regenerative Braking
iBSSR © Flickr

 It utilizes both the electric motor and the batteries’ stored energy to generate braking force. Hybrid cars use both electric motors and batteries but there is only a limited amount of stored energy for the car to use. 

If an owner uses his electric car only for short distances then he will not be able to generate enough energy to fully power up his hybrid car.

How Does Regenerative Braking Work?

The way it works is quite simple. An electric motor acts as a source of kinetic energy. The motor starts with kinetic energy and converts it into an electric current. 

This current is then transferred to the batteries, which store it until driving conditions become ideal for its use. The regenerative braking system on the other hand converts kinetic energy into direct current that can help power up the vehicle even during times of minimal driving conditions.

Many car manufacturers have already introduced new models that feature regenerative braking systems in their vehicles. Many experts believe that it is highly important to introduce such systems in new vehicles due to the high fuel prices that are affecting the global economy.


 As fuel prices continue to increase, more people around the world are considering purchasing more hybrid vehicles. These vehicles are considered to be more environmentally friendly and also provide excellent gas mileage.

However, many people who purchase hybrid vehicles have one question on their minds. How does regenerative braking work? Well, this braking system works on the principle of the standard friction braking system. 

However, instead of the vehicle slowing down because of deceleration caused by the tires, the system uses the kinetic energy that is present. This kinetic energy is then converted into a direct current that can help power up the vehicle even during tough driving conditions.


Regenerative braking works on a very simple principle. On the contrary to the standard friction braking system, the system uses the kinetic energy that is produced during deceleration of the vehicle directly and helps convert it into direct current and thereby lessening the amount of electricity that will need to be charged from the batteries. 

Although the regeneration process does not stop when the brakes are released, the electric motor is still operating and can help power up the vehicle.

(Visited 256 times, 1 visits today)

Max Anthony

Max is a gizmo-savvy guy, who has a tendency to get pulled into the nitty gritty details of technology and cars. He attended UT Austin, where he studied Information Science. He’s married and has three kids, one dog and a GMC truck and a Porsche 911. With a large family, he still finds time to share tips and tricks on cars, trucks and more.