The Secret to a Great Electric Car? How It Brakes PluginCars com

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Great Wall Electric Cars

The Secret to a Great Electric How It Brakes

By Brad Berman October 19, 2011

What’s the sauce of electric cars? In a society, you’d expect it to be most EVs have in spades. But the thing that distinguishes one car from one another is not how quickly it going, but the way it stops.


In recent I’ve reached out to engineers BMW, Ford, Toyota, and Tesla to learn about company’s approach to regenerative system that provides the or flavor of their electric

I say it’s secret, because not is talking. Toyota isn’t much, which is ironic this investigation was inspired by my last April, of the “phase version of the new RAV4 EV a co-production of and Tesla. That vehicle had the aggressive regen of any EV I’ve the car to a rapid halt when you let off the pedal.

The Tesla Roadster -esque and deceleration made it a blast to but I expect it will get dialed way in the production model, based on the line that Toyota was to offer for this mini-survey of car braking. “What exactly is it to look like when it to market? I can’t tell you Jana Hartline, Toyota’s communications manager, told me. always strives for the best and smoothest ride for the customer.”

An prototype of the new Toyota RAV4 EV. Brad Berman.)

I thought could shed light on the both in terms of the RAV4 EV and the Model Sbut after emails over several I’m still waiting for a

Like Toyota, Honda offered a banal comment regen braking, and only as it to its IMA hybrid systemdeclining to say anything plug-in hybrids or EVs. The from the central office in “Honda’s IMA System is designed to be a familiar system to the driver, so drivers who are used to the internal system can use our hybrids without or sacrifice.” I can only assume the same would hold for the company’s electric cars.

Ford: Seamless Driving and Regen

On the other hand, Marakby was happy to talk. The executive is in charge of engineering and regarding the Ford Focus and the Ford C-Max Energi hybrid, as well as the company’s

Marakby believes that series regen brake-by-wire the best of all possible worlds: regen under all conditions and a feel that is seamless to the On PluginCars.com, there’s been a lot of about where to place the functionality: on the accelerator (go) or on the brakes? “We blend said Markby. “This is to simulate what a gas vehicle When you let off, you start the process, and as you apply the brake it continues.”

Ford C-Max Plug-in Hybrid

According to this system captures 94 of the brake energy from the system in a city cycleallowing all of the braking to be regenerative, with no friction braking. The system can as much as 15 kW to 20 kW into the battery

Ford utilizes the same system on all its electric-drive vehicles, hybrids to pure EVs. The is on the third-generation of that system. we learned from the first of systems is that if the brake is any different from what the would expect as normal we get complaints,” said Marakby. when you give them regen, we actually don’t see a big If you get more aggressive, you’re not to put any more energy into the pack.”

This means no eco, performance, or coasting for Ford’s EVsto increase and acceleration or deceleration. “This is one of the we debated internally,” explained “But braking is purely a map. You can do the same thing [as modes do] by yourself [by how you apply the If you’re cruising on the highway, it make any difference.

It’s a matter of how deep you are into the You’re really not saving Marakby reiterated his confidence Ford’s EVs and PHEVs would no special modes or actions drivers accustomed to gas-powered and still absolutely maximize the and range of the electric-drive vehicles.

BMW: The Ultimate Braking

BMW is taking a much different to create a new category of driving and experience that is unique to vehicles. Aaron Singer, BMW planning and strategy manager for vehicles, graciously answered my by email. It’s so different the competition and such as departure the current path of other EVs to market that I wanted to his answers in detail.

PluginCars.com: your overall strategy for braking in your electric

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Aaron Singer: Feedback the MINI E field trial indicated our driver’s preference for regenerative braking coupled the ability for “one pedal This provides immediate that they are driving special, and is a unique feature of The BMW strategy, as demonstrated in the upcoming (all electric 1-Series is to maintain this aggressive brake feel as a unique selling point.

The driving feel of the upcoming BMW will reveal the company’s on its EV-specific approach to braking.

How do you the balance between maximizing energy, and providing a braking that mainstream drivers are to?

For pure electric drive, will be placed on the regenerative of the braking system. However, for driver acceptance, a “sailing has been implemented, allowing the to coast at highway speeds to a gasoline vehicle.

Will you the ability for drivers to control how regen is happening via buttons/modes? Why or why Other driver-selected controls?

The ActiveE will be equipped an “Eco Pro” mode. selected, this mode slightly reduce HVAC and response, and provide additional braking response.

This allows the user to place a priority on range, extending the distance of the car by slightly reducing the comforts.

What’s your for balancing the benefits of coasting when no regen occurs) strong regen (for when traveling downhill)?

Allow customer to choose. Due to the one driving, the user can select the car is sailing or generating power.

How do you on displaying regen, state-of-charge, and on the dashboard?

The dashboard will a small display, allowing the to quickly assess their battery state of charge. a digital display shows the percentage, remaining range, and of past performance. There is an gauge displaying the motor communicating whether the motor is or generating power.

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