Do electric trucks have different braking systems?
We’ll start with some brutally obvious statements.
For a heavy truck or rig to be of any value it needs to move. Forward momentum is key! Without it, those deliveries just don’t happen and you don’t get paid! As soon as you accept that, it doesn’t take long for the next equally important realization to kick in, you also need to be able to stop these road behemoths. While this applies equally to both combustion engine rigs as well as electric rigs, what doesn’t apply equally is how the braking is done between the two.
Yes, electric trucks do have a different braking system than combustion engine vehicles… well actually they have the same braking system as well as an additional system. The two forms of braking electric rigs offer are traditional braking and something called regenerative braking. We’ll start with what you’re familiar with, the traditional braking system. While we all may not know the nuts and bolts of exactly how a trucks traditional braking system works, you are probably familiar enough with it enough that explaining it isn’t necessary for what we’re discussing here today. Suffice it to say electric rigs offer braking just like you are used to.
Regenerative braking on the other hand is the new braking method. While there are many things that could be discussed on this, for most people the key point of interest is that this new braking system can allow you to recapture up to 15% of the energy generated and in turn use that to actually increase driving range.
As a basic explanation, the use of regenerative braking is done through one pedal. You press the accelerator down and the rig moves forward, you take your foot off the pedal and the rig slows or progressively brakes. The slowing or progressive braking is where the energy recapture happens. The first question people ask when they hear that there are two braking systems on electric vehicles is why two options?
The problem is one pedal or regenerative braking is that it doesn’t slow or stop vehicles anywhere near as fast as traditional braking, so you still need traditional foundation brakes.
Another benefit is that even when you’re using traditional brakes, since you’ve removed your foot from the accelerator the regenerative braking is still working so your normal brakes don’t have to work as hard. This is yet another benefit that regenerative braking brings to the table. It can help reduce wear and tear on the traditional braking system elements thereby reducing some of the maintenance costs associated with truck driving.
So, as we are all progressively swept up in the endless innovations that come at us, regenerative braking is just one more benefit that electric rigs offer us.