What is regenerative braking and how does it work?

Regenerative braking is a simple process used by self-charging hybrid cars. It allows them to recharge their batteries using braking power. During the process of regenerative braking, kinetic energy that may otherwise be wasted is converted into electrical energy. This is then returned to the battery.

Discover more about regenerative braking, including how it works and what Honda hybrid vehicles it features in. 

How does regenerative braking work?

Regenerative braking is an in-built part of a hybrid electric car’s operation. All the driver needs to do is engage the regenerative braking system and take their feet off the accelerator and the hybrid system will handle the rest.

• In a hybrid electric car, the electric motor drives the wheels and powers the car.

• When you use regenerative braking, the motor stops powering the wheels and the car starts to slow down naturally without the power.

• In the meantime the motor reverses it role to work like a generator - using the kinetic energy from the still moving wheels to generate electricity, which is then fed back into the battery, replenishing its charge.

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The advantages of regenerative braking

As hybrid technology continues to advance, regenerative brakes are becoming a more common fixture.

Some of the advantages they offer include:

Improved electric range – by retaining, converting and repurposing kinetic energy into charging the battery, fuel usage is reduced and range extended.

Dual-action safety– by combining a friction braking system with a regenerative system, your hybrid can slow down quickly and safely.

Reduced wear-and-tear on friction brakes – Cars using regenerative braking will still have traditional brakes. But because the majority of the work is done by the regenerative brakes, brake pads are used less often, which can mean they last longer.

Disadvantages of regenerative braking

While minor, there are also some small disadvantages to regenerative braking that you may want to consider:

Wide-ranging efficiency –depending on your driving style, you may get more or less out of regenerative braking. At low speeds, or with harsh or sudden braking, you may see less of a benefit.

Different feel –regenerative braking may feel different compared to traditional ones, which could be off-putting to some. Generally, regenerative brakes feel smoother, quicker and more consistent, but may require you to push down harder on the pedal.


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What kind of cars use regenerative braking?

Regenerative braking is a feature of most electric cars and self-charging hybrids. It’s used to top up, rather than fully charge, the electric battery. We use this technology in several of our models.

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Do all hybrids use regenerative braking?

All Honda hybrids make use of regenerative braking. And while they may differ in their approach, all hybrids use a regenerative braking system of some sort.



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What is the best way to use regenerative braking?

In instances where you’re stopping frequently, such as in traffic or urban driving, your brakes will capture more energy as you stop and start more. Stopping your vehicle smoothly, rather than slamming your brakes, can also be more efficient. 

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Do regenerative brakes have brake pads?

Regenerative brakes don’t have brake pads, but they do reduce brake pad wear on friction-based brakes because these are used less when working alongside regenerative brake

Some of the honda cars using regenerative braking include:

Honda E

This award-winning honda e is the first battery electric honda to be designed for, and sold in, Europe.

Its nostalgic design is bang up-to-date with the latest driver assistive technology, a sophisticated and elegant interior and stunning electric performance. Nimble and agile in town and, best of all, zero tailpipe emissions. 

Explore the Honda E

Honda CR-V

A full hybrid in a modern SUV chassis which is available with two or four-wheel-drive. Its advanced e:HEV powertrain offers low emissions, great fuel economy and unmatched power. 

The honda CR-V is a popular large SUV and the latest generation is spacious, responsive, smooth and efficient.

Explore the Honda CR-V

Honda HR-V

The all-new honda HR-V is a compact and sporty, premium crossover SUV which benefits from an advanced e:HEV hybrid powertrain. 

That means low emissions, high economy and, unlike a mild hybrid, genuine electric autonomy. It has an engaging drive that only Honda can deliver and its Magic Seats make it is the most accommodating and versatile SUV in its class.

Explore the Honda HR-V

Honda Civic

The all-new Civic e:HEV is a dynamic self-charging, full hybrid hatchback that complements the Civic’s design and technology with exhilarating, electrified power.

Explore the Honda Civic 

Honda Jazz

The honda Jazz is a full hybrid in two distinct styles: the elegant and refined jazz hatchback and the sporty, active-lifestyle jazz crosstar. 

Thanks to honda e:HEV technology the range gives you impressive fuel economy, low emissions and a sensational electrified drive. 

Explore the Honda Jazz