Hybrid Brakes "Regenerative Brakes"

With the rise of hybrid vehicles, more and more people are making the switch to EV. While this is helping many save on gas, reduce their carbon footprint, and drive a cleaner car, there are a few differences between a hybrid and a traditional gasoline vehicle that should be known. One of the most innovative features of a hybrid is the brake system. Known as the regenerative brake system, a hybrid’s brakes are much different than standard brakes. Today, we are going to look at how hybrid braking systems differ from standard brakes.

What Is Regenerative Braking?

Regenerative brake is braking technology used on hybrid and electric vehicles to recharge the batteries that power the vehicle while assisting the hydraulic brake system to stop them. As the EV or hybrid driver lets their foot off of the accelerator or applies the brake pedal, the electric motor spin in reverse, acting as a generator that recharges the battery. This energy is also used to apply resistance to the wheels to slow the vehicle without using the pads and rotors. Once the driver fully applies the brake pedal, the hydraulic brake system activates and squeezes the brake pads against the rotor. This is a common setup on EV and hybrid vehicles such as Tesla, Proud, and some Lexus, Chevy, BMW, and Porsche models. This helps to reuse a lot of the energy that is used in braking and allows you to have a longer interval between brake jobs as the pads and rotors are being used at a slower rate.

How Does This Differ From Regular Hydraulic Brakes?

In a normal brake system in non-EV and non-hybrid vehicles, the brake pads and rotors are the sole components used to slow a vehicle down. When pressure is applied to the brake pedal, hydraulic fluid travels from the master cylinder down to the brake caliper, pushing the brake pad against the rotor, slowing the vehicle down. Once pressure is relieved from the brake pedal, hydraulic fluid moves back into the master cylinder, allowing the brake pad to lift off of the rotor, allowing the car to move forward again. 

What Is A Brake By Wire System?

A brake by wire system is a relatively new braking system seen on vehicles with regenerative and traditional brakes, such as the C8 Stingray Corvette. A brake by wire system controls the brakes of a vehicle electronically. A position sensor monitors how far the brake pedal has been pushed down to determine the amount of braking force to apply. In vehicles such as the Porsche Tacan, the hydraulic brake are only activated after meeting a certain threshold. Very light pressure to the brake pedal may only activate the electric motor regeneration. While this may seem a little dangerous as electronics are known to fail, a safety feature is built in to foolproof the system for safety. If anything goes wrong with the electronics, a valve opens up and bypasses all of the electronics, acting as a traditional hydraulic brake system.


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