You are on page 1of 14





Every time you step on your car's brakes, you're wasting energy. Physics tells us that energy cannot be destroyed. So when your car slows down, the kinetic energy that was propelling it forward has to go somewhere. Most of it simply dissipates as heat and becomes useless. That energy, which could have been used to do work, is essentially wasted. In most cars it's the inevitable byproduct of braking and there's no way you can drive a car without occasionally hitting the brakes. But automotive engineers have given this problem a lot of thought and have come up with a kind of braking system that can recapture much of the car's kinetic energy and convert it into electricity, so that it can be used to recharge the car's batteries. This system is called regenerative braking. At present, these kinds of brakes are primarily found in hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius , and in fully electric cars, like the Tesla Roadster. In vehicles like these, keeping the battery charged is of considerable importance. However, the technology was first used in trolley cars and has subsequently found its way into such unlikely places as electric bicycles and even Formula One race cars. In a traditional braking system, brake pads produce friction with the brake rotors to slow or stop the vehicle. Additional friction is produced between the slowed wheels and the surface of the road. This friction is what turns the car's kinetic energy into heat. With

regenerative brakes, on the other hand, the system that drives the vehicle does the majority of the braking. When the driver steps on the brake pedal of an electric or hybrid vehicle, these types of brakes put the vehicle's electric motor into reverse mode, causing it to run backwards, thus slowing the car's wheels. While running backwards, the motor also acts as an electric generator, producing electricity that's then fed into the vehicle's batteries. These types of brakes work better at certain speeds than at others. In fact, they're most effective in stop-and-go driving situations. However, hybrids and fully electric cars also have friction brakes, as a kind of back-up system in situations where regenerative braking simply won't supply enough stopping power. In these instances, its important for drivers to be aware of the fact that the brake pedal might respond differently to pressure. The pedal will sometimes depress farther towards the floor than it normally does and this sensation can cause momentary panic in drivers. In the following pages, we'll take a more detailed look at how a regenerative braking system works, and we'll discuss reasons why regenerative braking is more efficient than a typical friction brake system. In the following pages, we'll take a more detailed look at how a regenerative braking system works, and we'll discuss reasons why regenerative braking is more efficient than a typical friction brake system.

When a conventional vehicle applies its brakes, kinetic energy is converted into heat energy due to friction. This heat is further lost in the airstream, hence the energy is wasted. The total amount of energy lost depends on How often the brakes are applied. How hard the brakes are applied. For how long these brakes are applied

Regenerative braking refers to a process by which the kinetic energy of the vehicle is stored by a short term storage system and re-used for further acceleration. Energy normally dissipated by brakes is directed by the power transmission system to a energy store during deceleration. The energy is held until required again for accelerating the vehicle(converted back to kinetic energy). The magnitude of the energy stored varies according to type of storage, drive train efficiency, drive cycle and inertia weight. For example: a lorry on a motorway would account for only a little saving even if the efficiency is 100%. But driving in the city center involves higher frequency braking which increases the potential saving of energy.

A regenerative brake is an energy recovery mechanism which slows a vehicle or object down by converting its kinetic energy into another form, which can be either used immediately or stored until needed. This contrasts with conventional braking systems, where the excess kinetic energy is converted to heat by friction in the brake linings and therefore wasted. Regenerative braking is a system in which the electric motor that normally drives a hybrid or pure electric vehicle is essentially operated in reverse (electrically) during braking or coasting. Instead of consuming energy to propel a vehicle, the motor acts as a generator that charges the onboard batteries with electrical energy that would normally be lost as heat through traditional mechanical friction brakes. As the motor acts in reverse, it generates electricity. The accompanying friction (electrical resistance) assists the normal brake pads in overcoming inertia and helps slow the vehicle. We use super capacitors in regenerative braking systems to store energy. Though super capacitors have energy densities that are approximately 10% of conventional batteries, their power density is generally 10 to 100 times greater. This results in much shorter charge/discharge cycles than batteries. Additionally, they will tolerate many more charge and discharge cycles than batteries. In these electrochemical capacitors, the electrolyte is the conductive connection between the two electrodes. This distinguishes them from electrolytic capacitors, in which the electrolyte is the cathode and thus forms the second electrode. Examples: All hybrid and electric vehicles use regenerative braking to generate electricity to help recharge their batteries. Hybrids and all-electric vehicles create their own power for battery recharging through a process known as regenerative braking (regen. mode). We've explained what regenerative braking is and how the process works in general terms. We understand that in a hybrid or all-electric vehicle the word "regenerative," in terms of regenerative braking, means capturing the vehicle's momentum (kinetic energy) and turning it into electricity that recharges (regenerates) the onboard battery as the vehicle is slowing down and/or stopping. It is this charged battery that in turn powers the vehicle's electric traction motor. In an all-electric vehicle, this motor is the sole source of locomotion. In a hybrid, the motor works in partnership with an internal combustion engine. But that motor is not just a source of propulsion, it's also a generator.

So How Does a Motor/Generator Work in an Hybrid Vehicle:

Any permanent magnet motor can operate as either a motor or generator. In allelectrics and hybrids, they are more precisely called a motor/generator (M/G). No matter

the vehicle design, there must be a mechanical connection between the M/G and the drivetrain. In an all-electric vehicle there could be an individual M/G at each wheel or a central M/G connected to the drive train through a gearbox. In a hybrid, the motor/generator could be an individual component that is driven by an accessory belt from the engine (much like an alternator on a conventional vehicle--this is how the GM Braking system works), it could be a pancake M/G that is bolted between the engine and transmission (this is the most common setup--the Prius, for example), or it could be multiple M/Gs mounted inside the transmission (this is how the two-modes work). In any case, the M/G has to be able to propel the vehicle as well as be driven by the vehicle in regen. mode.

Regenerative Braking: Slowing the Vehicle and Generating Electricity

This is really what the regeneration mode is all about. With the electronic throttle closed and the vehicle still moving, all of its kinetic energy can be captured to both slow the vehicle and recharge its battery. As the onboard computer signals the battery to stop sending electricity (via the controller relay) and start receiving it (through a charge controller), the M/G simultaneously stops receiving electricity for powering the vehicle and starts sending current back to the battery for charging. However, the above technology (regenerative braking systems in hybrids) has its limitations and therefore does not stand on its own, but is always assisted with conventional hydraulic brakes We look forward to remove this limitation and allowing a vehicle to fully rely on regenerative braking technology to deal with any braking situation ranging from simple slow down to emergency stops. To enable this, multiple generators with different gear ratios are used. . The additional benefit of this construction is that, by introducing the appropriate control circuit, the generators can be used as electrical engines. Since these motors are connected with different gear ratios there is a more consistent acceleration at any speed. The paper shows that the overall efficiency of the system is very close to the efficiency of the generators used while achieving braking performance similar to conventional braking mechanisms.

How does regenerative braking system work(in electric vehicles):

The vehicle controller determines the regenerative braking torque and the EMB torque according to various driving conditions such as driver input, vehicle velocity, battery State of Charge (SOC), and motor characteristics. The Motor Control Unit (MCU) controls the regenerative braking torque through command signals from the vehicle controller. The Brake Control Unit (BCU) receives input from the driver via an electronic pedal, then transmits the braking command signals to each EMB. This is determined by the regenerative braking control algorithm from the value of remaining braking torque minus the regenerative braking torque. The braking friction torque is generated when the EMB in each wheel creates a suitable braking torque for the motor; the torque is then transmitted through the gear mechanism to the calliper. Advantages:

Improved fuel economy dependent on duty cycle, powertrain design, control strategy and the efficiency of the individual components Emission reduction engine emissions reduced but engines decoupling, reducing total engine revolutions and total time of engine operation (engine on off strategy) Improved performance Reduction in break wear reducing cost of replacement brake linings, cost of labor to install them and vehicles down time. Smaller accessories-hybrid power train offers potential for eliminating (electric starter) or downsizing(fuel tank) some accessoriues, thus partially offsetting the increased vehicle weight and cost due to hybrid hardware additions. Operating range is comparable with conventional vehicles-a problem not yet overcome by electric vehicles.

Limitations: The regenerative braking effect drops off at lower speeds; therefore the friction brake is still required in order to bring the vehicle to a complete halt. Physical locking of the rotor is also required to prevent vehicles from rolling down hills. The friction brake is a necessary back-up in the event of failure of the regenerative brake. The amount of electrical energy capable of dissipation is limited by either the capacity of the supply system to absorb this energy or on the state of charge of the battery or capacitors. Regenerative braking can only occur if no other electrical component on the same supply system is drawing power and only if the battery or capacitors are not fully charged. For this reason, it is normal to also incorporate dynamic braking to absorb the excess energy. Under emergency braking it is desirable that the braking force exerted be the maximum allowed by the friction between the wheels and the surface without slipping, over the entire speed range from the vehicle's maximum speed down to zero. The maximum force available for acceleration is typically much less than this except in the case of extreme high-performance vehicles. Therefore, the power required to be dissipated by the braking system under emergency braking conditions may be many times the maximum power which is delivered under acceleration. Traction motors sized to handle the drive power may not be able to cope with the extra load and the battery may not be able to accept charge at a sufficiently high rate. Friction braking is required to dissipate the surplus energy in order to allow an acceptable emergency braking performance. Complexity-depends on control necessary for operation of regenerative braking system.

Cost-of components , engineering, manufacturing and installation. Mass production would bring costs down to a more reasonable level. Noise-dependent on system.

Literature survey: Efficiency of regen. mode in cities: In the years following the energy crisis of the early 70s numerous researchers have studies the feasibility and practicality of implementing hybrid power trains incorporating regenerative braking which the potential to improve the fuel economy of vehicles operating under urban driving conditions .The price increase of petroleum based fuel in the past few years has also given rise to various research and development efforts for energy conservation. However, reduced fuel consumption and therefore operating cost and reduced gaseous emissions including primarily carbon dioxide (hence global warming) are the major driving forces behind commercial considerations of such system.

Regenerative braking only promises significant gains in town driving 62.5% of energy is dissipated in the Metropolitan cycle due to frequent braking. If all brake energy could be regenerated with no loss in the regenerative system, fuel consumption would be improved by 33%.Alternative sources that the addition of regenerative energy storage systems to motor vehicles schedule. This relative saving is reducing as the weight of the vehicle reduces. A 1000 kg vehicle can with both electric drive and ICE offers potential fuel saving of over 20% compared with 5-6% from purely electric.

Concerns over fuel economy, pollution and government regulations maintain the interest of the automotive technical community in these alternative power train configuration. Interest in non-polluting vehicles increased significantly when Californian Air Resources Board mandated that 2% of all vehicles lighter than 1700kg sold by each manufacturer in the state in 1998 be zero emission vehicles. This must increase to 5% by 2001,and 10% by 2002.The term non polluting is relative, electric vehicles do not pollute but the original source of the energy does cause pollution during its generation. However centrally

generated pollutants can be controlled and reduced more easily than the disturbed pollution sources of individual vehicles.

Most American motor vehicle manufacturers believe that hybrid systems are the way to achieve more flexibility and range out of electric vehicles until better batteries are available. this would allow them to meet again the stringent Californian exhaust emission standers being phased in for passengers cars over the next few years. Ultra Low Emission Vehicles(ULEV)standards are expected to provide a niche for hybrid vehicles which is why manufacturers interest is heightened at present. It is widely specifically for local commuting and not needing to provide the same all round performance as conventional cars.

European manufacturers believe hybrid vehicles are a way to achieve high fuel efficiency and very low emissions from liquid fuelled vehicles. This differing view is due to fact that in the LA basin the air pollution problem extends over a vast area requiring a vehicle with good range and zero emission capability. In Europe pollution tends to be a localized event concentrated in urban areas, this combines with the fact that fewer Europe families have two or more cars means manufacturers need to provide a car that can deal with local air quality but also travel at higher speed for interurban and long distance driving


The amount of stored energy and maximum power extraction depends on vehicle performance specifications, the conversion efficiency and the efficiencies of the components in the drive train. Performance specifications should be similar to existing automobiles to obtain acceptance in the market place. Typically specifications are:

Mass Passengers Luggage Total

Vehicle (inc. fuel) 400kg 200kg 2200kg



250km at constant speed of 48kmph

200km at constant speed of 88kmph 10km 10% slope constant speed of 48kmph Speed Acceleration Deceleration Rapid recharge Slow recharge Maximum 120kmph From 0-96kmph in 10s From 96-0 kmph in 7s Fully charged in less than 40 min Fully charged in 8h

Aux. power

Air-conditioning/heating 3kW 0.1kW 1kW 0.2kW 0.2 kW 1.5kW

Windscreen wipers Lights Radio/hi-fi Electric windows Cooling pump and fan Total Efficiencies Gearboxes Controllers Controlled rectifiers Flywheel generator Batteries 6kW Motors

95% 99% 97% 98% 95% 92%

A minimum energy storage of 78kWh is required to give the automobile a range of 200250km.this is based on a total vehicle weight of 2200kg and is significantly less if a lighter

vehicle and the allowable time to recharge the batteries or flywheels minimum power of 92kW is required to meet the specified acceleration/deceleration rates.

After a lot of research work being done on this topic, we have decided to up with a working model of Regenerative Braking Systems. On our next review, we will be ready with the exact methodology of the working model. Meanwhile what we were able to find out are the various working methods of Regenerative Breaking Systems. One of them is discussed below. In a regenerative braking system, the objective is to recapture the energy byproduct that results when the brakes are applied. In electric or hybrid automobiles, the electric motor that drives the car's wheels plays a major part during braking. When the brake pedal is pressed, the regenerative braking circuit switches the motor so that it now operates in reverse to counter the direction of the wheels. This reversal actually makes it perform like a power generator or dynamo that produces electrical energy. The electricity developed is routed towards the car's storage batteries to recharge them. At higher speeds, regenerative brakes still require the assistance of traditional brake system to be applied as a backup.

This recapturing and storing of electrical energy may be likened to "trickle" charging of the batteries. This is because most of the time, the electric motor runs in torque producing mode to drive the vehicle. The recommended battery charging method still has to be performed to charge the batteries fully, although regenerative braking does translate to an increase in vehicle range


We will be putting more research efforts in our next review regarding various aspects of Regenerative Breaking Systems. Moreover, efforts on finding a basic, simple and economically feasible working model are still going on. In our next report we will be coming up with the pros and cons of Regenerative Breaking Systems. Further research will also include a detailed study of the working principle of the project.

Mar 30, 2007 - Clegg, S.J. (1996) A Review of Regenerative Braking Systems. Working Paper. Institute of Transport Studies, University of Leeds , Leeds, UK. S.J. Clegg (1996) A Review of Regenerative Braking Systems. Institute of. Transport Studies, University of Leeds, Working Paper 471.

The World Electric Vehicle Journal, Vol 2, Issue 4. International Journal of Sustainable Energy Development (IJSED), Volume 2, Issues 1 and 2, March/June 2013