Skip advert
Advertisement

A to Z of Car Tech: R is for rear-wheel-drive and regenerative braking

The letter R in our A to Z of car cech series examines regenerative braking, rear-wheel-drive and more…

The technology contained within the modern motor car can be both fascinating and slightly baffling. Most such technology exists to make our cars safer, more efficient and just better than ever to drive but some of it can be quite confusing for the average motorist. In this A to Z series we will attempt to unravel the mystery of technology that is the modern motor car. This week, we’re visiting the letter R…

Advertisement - Article continues below

R is for…regenerative braking. Used by everything from a modern Formula One car to a Formula E car - and by hybrids and fully electric vehicles as well - regenerative brakes are a clever way of creating and then storing the energy that’s produced when braking.

Such systems work by converting the kinetic energy that a vehicle produces when braking, more often than not using an electric motor, and then storing it in a battery pack, or occasionally in a spinning flywheel.

This energy is then reissued via the same electric motor whenever it’s required, for example when the driver re-applies the throttle after braking.

Some regenerative braking systems will also produce small amounts of energy by tickling the brakes in certain circumstances, even when the driver isn’t pressing the brake pedal, such as when going down a steep hill.

R is for…rear-wheel-drive. In theory, rear-wheel-drive is still the purest layout to have - be that in a front-engined car or even a mid or rear engine one - because by not putting any drive through the front wheels, the steering system remains unaffected by the throttle, and is therefore clearer in its response.

Most rear wheel-drive cars will use longitudinally mounted engines that live in the nose of the car. Power is then sent to the rear wheels from the engine’s crankshaft via a prop shaft, which then connects to a differential at the rear axle, and then to the driveshafts and so on.

All mid or rear-engined cars are either rear or four-wheel-drive. The idea of a mid-engined front-wheel-drive car would, after all, seem like the answer to a question no one has ever bothered to ask.

Next, the letter S…

A-Z of car tech
Skip advert
Advertisement
Continue Reading
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

Mercedes says ‘no thank you’ to EQ: EV brand to be axed
Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 - EQS badge
News

Mercedes says ‘no thank you’ to EQ: EV brand to be axed

Mercedes will roll back EQ branding for its electric cars as the first generation of EV models reaches the end of its lifecycle.
15 May 2024
UK faces “epidemic” of young uninsured drivers
Car crash
News

UK faces “epidemic” of young uninsured drivers

The number of young people convicted of driving without insurance has tripled since 2021, due to sky-rocketing premiums
17 May 2024
Car Deal of the Day: SEAT Leon is an ideal family hatchback for £165 a month
SEAT Leon TSI EVO - front tracking
News

Car Deal of the Day: SEAT Leon is an ideal family hatchback for £165 a month

Excellent interior quality and efficiency make the SEAT Leon our Deal of the Day for 17 May
17 May 2024