What is regenerative braking?

Focus Electric

This remarkable technology helps you achieve maximum energy efficiency while driving–which in turn saves you money. Jim Castellano, manager of regenerative braking for Ford, explains how it works in the 2015 C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi.

Conventional brakes stop a vehicle by using friction. This is effective, but the kinetic energy of the car is wasted—it simply dissipates into heat energy. In regenerative braking, by contrast, the motor actually helps reduce vehicle speed. When you apply the brakes, the motor is cued to work in reverse, transferring torque back through the source. In this way, regenerative braking is essentially converting mechanical energy into electrical energy, which can then be stored in the car’s battery.

Electric and hybrid cars can still utilize friction brakes when necessary, but at a lower level or not at all. The 2015 C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi automatically execute the optimal level of regenerative braking.

The best way to utilize regenerative braking is to apply steady moderate brake pressure. Depending on the battery’s state of charge and your driving, regenerative braking can account for more than 90% recovery of the energy that would normally be lost in friction braking.

The C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi also feature a brake coach, located on the instrument panel screen, which will tell you the percentage of braking energy captured after each stop. The higher the percentage, the more efficiently you are braking.