Cars are becoming more streamlined and minimalist. We have seen approval for vehicles without steering wheel or pedals in an effort to make cars with increased autonomy. But now carmakers have designed a car without conventional brake discs – and all of this is part of a larger effort to reduce carbon emissions.
Over the weekend, a French carmaker DS CarsCitroen’s luxury arm has released a prototype of the DS E-TENSE, which uses only electric regenerative brakes.
How does regenerative arrest work?
Just a quick refresh. In traditional braking, stepping on the car’s brake pedal causes the discs and brake pads to generate kinetic energy. In ICEs, this kinetic energy is released into the air.
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But with EV you can reduce acceleration (take your foot off the accelerator pedal), which allows the car to stop completely without touching the brake pedal. During this operation, the flow of electricity from the battery to the engine stops. However, the rotor still rotates with the wheels. This allows the engine to act as a generator, creating electricity to recharge the car’s battery.
Currently, all hybrid and electric car braking systems are available with spare friction disc brakes. They are ready to operate when regenerative brakes do not provide enough power to stop the vehicle, such as during an emergency stop.
Are cars without disc brakes the future of electric cars?
DS E-TENSE PERFORMANCE is built without disc brakes. Instead, it uses two on-board electric motors to fully decelerate the car through regenerative braking, up to 600 kW.
All of this is part of DS’s study of whether “regenerative braking alone may ultimately be the only way to slow cars down, helping to better recharge the battery in the process and remove conventional brake discs and pads.”
What are the advantages of a car with only regenerative braking?
Even in its combined form, regenerative arrest makes the car more efficient by producing energy every time the car stops.
But a car without rear friction brakes would be of great benefit to environmental efforts to reduce air pollution for ordinary consumers.
According to researchers, to 55% of road traffic pollution comes from raw particles. From this, About 20% comes from brake dust. This is important because most people think about exhaust emissions when they think of cars that cause pollution.
Brake powder is made of iron particles. It is caused by friction between the iron brake rotor, which is ground on the brake pads when the vehicle decelerates. This brake powder then wears out and is carried into the air. There is significant impact on the respiratory health of people highly exposed to brake dust, such as those living in high-traffic areas.
Many vehicles, including electric ones, contain harmful metal components in the clutch, engine and brakes.
But regenerative braking is not the only thing vehicle manufacturers focus on.
Earlier this year, Fortescue Future Industries and Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) announced the development of the world’s first “zero-emission” Infinity Train for carrying heavy loads.
Infinity Train will use gravitational energy to completely recharge its battery-electric systems. This means that no charging is required to recharge the return trip.
In other words, the train will recharge the battery using the gravity of the extremely heavy iron ore it carries. It can then be returned home without the need for manual recharging.
So, we have it, two seemingly unexpected sources for the future of regenerative braking: racing cars and heavy trains. If successful, this research and development can advance the goals of transport sustainability in general. Exciting things.