How Tesla’s Regenerative Braking Works

By Kevin Armstrong

Tesla offers three stopping modes

Braking is essential to the driving experience, but not all systems are created equal. A regenerative braking system (RBS) is the most significant difference people notice the first time they operate an electric vehicle.

Regen, as commonly referred to, makes it possible to drive a Tesla and never touch the brake pedal (along with some brake blending for slow speeds), not only reducing wear and tear on braking components but putting energy back into the battery. There are some estimates that regenerative braking can add 10 percent more range and extend the life of braking mechanisms by more than 50 percent.

What is Tesla’s Regenerative Braking?

Unlike traditional brakes, which rely on friction to stop the wheels from turning, regenerative braking uses the vehicle’s electric motor to create resistance to slow down the vehicle. In addition to slowing the vehicle down without the use of brakes, the motor running in reverse acts as a generator and captures the kinetic energy that would typically be lost as heat and converts it into electrical energy, thereby increasing your vehicle’s range.

How to Activate Regen in a Tesla

In a Tesla, the regenerative braking system is activated by lifting your foot off the accelerator. The more you ease off the accelerator, the stronger the braking force and the more energy is captured.

Tesla’s Power Meter (Regen bar)

Tesla's power meter, also known as the regen bar or line

All Teslas feature a power meter either in the instrument cluster (Model S and X) or the center screen (Model 3 and Y) that displays the amount of energy being captured through regenerative braking, or the amount of energy being used by accelerating the vehicle.

The center of the line is considered neutral. Anything to the left of the center point means energy is being captured, while anything to the

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