regenerative brake

A regenerative brake is an apparatus, a device or system which allows a vehicle to recapture part of the kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost to heat when braking and make use of that power either by storing it for future use or feeding it back into a power system for other vehicles to use.

It is similar to an electromagnetic brake, which generates heat instead of electricity and is unable to completely stop a rotor.

Regenerative brakes are a form of dynamo generator, originally discovered in 1832 by Hippolyte Pixii. The dynamo's rotor slows as the kinetic energy is converted to electrical energy through electromagnetic induction. The dynamo can be used as either generator or brake by converting motion into electricity or be reversed to convert electricity into motion.

Using a dynamo as an regenerative brake was discovered co-incident with the modern electric motor. In 1873, Zénobe Gramme attached the wires from two dynamos together. When one dynamo rotor was turned as a regenerative brake, the other became an electric motor.

It is estimated that regenerative braking systems in vehicles currently reach 31.3% electric generation efficiency, with most of the remaining energy being released as heat; the actual efficiency depends on numerous factors, such as the state of charge of the battery, how many wheels are equipped to use the regenerative braking system, and whether the topology used is parallel or serial in nature.[citation needed] The system is no more efficient than conventional friction brakes, but reduces the use of contact elements like brake pads, which eventually wear out. Traditional friction-based brakes must also be provided to be used when rapid, powerful braking is required.