Conventionally car brake is designed to serve one purpose, which is to stop cars. It consists of multiple parts making its working kind of complex even though the actuation is just by pressing a foot pedal. The system holds a greater potential in energy efficiency, which has brought about regenerating braking.

However, the term is not a new invention, as it’s common in hybrid and electric cars to control and recapture lost energy. The work is quite simple, continue reading to get full details. Today we’ll be discussing the various types of braking systems and regenerative braking. We’ll also be looking at the difference between the conventional braking system and the regenerative braking.


Conventional braking system

The conventional braking system is the hydraulic, air, and mechanical brakes which are also known as a frictional brake. This is because the brake is actuated through the rubbing of two surfaces. The device is designed to restrain motion by absorbing energy from a moving system usually using friction. In most automotive devices slowing or stopping is achieved by hydraulic fluid. It’s bleed to get the best performance of the breaking. Hydraulic braking has been extensively explained in another article.

braking system

The hydraulic brake circuit contains a master cylinder filled with hydraulic fluid. This master cylinder is connected to a separate slave cylinder. The brake pedal is attached to the master cylinder, which causes the piston to be depressed in the master cylinder. This forces the fluid through the connected pipes to reach the slave cylinders at each wheel, which in turn forces the piston to actuate the brakes.

Regenerative braking system

The regenerative braking system is known as electromagnetic braking used on hybrid and electric cars. Just as earlier mentioned, it recaptures lost energy. Well, working is quite simple and easy to understand. The energy lost in the braking is recollected and converted into electric energy for the large high-capacity battery. The difference between conventional and regenerative (electromagnetic) braking is the creation of energy.

regenerative braking system

In our previous article, I explained how the conventional disc and drum braking system slows and stops cars using friction. Well, the extra benefit regenerative brakes offer makes manufacturers employ them in hybrid and electric vehicles. since it added the benefit of recharging electric batteries.

Read: Understanding Hydraulic Braking System

Vehicles designed with regenerative brakes are actuated by driving the motor in reverse. This is achieved as the brake pedal is pressed, and the vehicle’s electric motor is automatically placed into reverse mode. It causes the vehicle to run backward. With this principle, the car wheels do not only slow the wheel but also generate electricity for the car. This is caused by the reverse motion that takes place as the brake is pressed.

Vehicles that use regenerative braking also have friction brakes to support the regenerative braking when it loses power or not supplying enough power to stop the vehicle. The electronic circuitry and onboard computer of the car determine when the conventional frictional braking system will be used. At the same time is to handle the engagement of the reverse motion. There will be a slight reduction in the car’s momentum, which is determined by the force the driver exerts on the pedal. This will cause the vehicle’s electronics to engage the regenerative brakes and make the motor reverse.

Diagram of regenerative braking:

components of regenerative braking system

The conventional braking system comes to work when the vehicle needs a quick stop to avoid a collision. The brake will be engaged. The regenerative braking is controlled by a brake controller, it’s an electronic device that determines when the braking starts and ends, using a remote control. It also determines the speed of application, similar to the ABS controller that monitors the rotational speed of the wheels about one another. This brake control system can calculate how much torque is available to generate electricity and also monitor the wheel speed.

The brake controller sends the electricity obtained to the capacitor during braking, which ensures the optimal amount of electricity is delivered. This also prevents overloading in the batteries or capacitors. Finally, the brake controller chooses the braking system to be used, either the conventional frictional brake that serves as a backup or the regenerative braking. If the required braking force is too high for the regenerative brakes, the brake controller activates the friction brake to achieve a quick brake. This helps to avoid possible accidents.

Read: Understanding Service Trailer Brake System

The difference between friction and regenerating braking systems is their manners of braking. The regenerative brakes are suitable to work at specific speeds, mostly in stop-and-go situations. The energy lost because of heat through friction is about 80%. The regenerative braking system can recapture half of the energy lost and decrease fuel consumption by 10 to 25%.

Watch the video to learn more about how the regenerative braking system works:

In conclusion, the difference between conventional friction braking and regenerative braking systems is quite obvious. The generative braking system obtains extra energy to power the vehicle battery, but it gradually slows down the car. Whereas the conventional friction braking system uses hydraulic fluid or mechanical process to apply the brake. A good frictional brake catches as soon as the control pedal is pressed.

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