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How Much Electric Bike Energy Is Recovered Through Regenerative Braking?

Using an e-bike to travel in the city

Ever since Toyota launched its first Prius (more than two decades ago), the idea of regenerative braking has steadily grown in application to enhance the range of electric and hybrid vehicles.

Regenerative braking isn’t just restricted to vehicles, because you can find it today in many electric bike models, as well as electric scooters and skateboards. While e-bike manufacturers use this feature to aggressively market their products, only a small number of people seem to fully understand the concept.

So, how much e-bike energy is recouped through regenerative braking?

According to experts, we can recoup anything in the region of 5-10% from a single charge!

What is Regenerative Braking?

A moving vehicle possesses high amounts of kinetic energy, and when we brake to slow down or stop the vehicle, all this kinetic energy must be released somewhere. In regular braking, the kinetic energy is lost under the form of heat, noise, air resistance, etc.

On the contrary, regenerative braking uses the e-bike motor as a generator to capture some of the kinetic energy lost during deceleration and convert it back into energy that is stored in the bike’s battery.

When the bike starts to accelerate again, much of the energy earlier stored from regenerative braking is recycled as opposed to spending more of the bike’s stored energy.

However, you need to understand that regenerative braking is not a magical range booster as some vendors may want you to think. It doesn’t make your electric bike more efficient, rather, it makes it less inefficient.

This is because the most efficient way to ride your bike would be to accelerate until you achieve a constant speed and maintain this without touching the brake pedal. Braking tends to remove the kinetic energy of the vehicle, and to start again you have to pedal harder to get back to speed.

As such, you’ll achieve your best range if you never slow down in the first place, but this isn’t practical for obvious reasons, and given that we need to brake more often.

Regenerative braking sounds like the next big thing, but what it really does, it simply helps you to reduce the inefficiency of braking.

How Well Does Regenerative Braking Work?

To gauge regenerative braking, we have to look at two parameters such as: efficiency and effectiveness.
While the two almost sound and mean the same; they are quite different.


Efficiency is simply how well the regenerative braking feature captures the wasted kinetic energy from braking.

Is much of the energy lost as heat or is channeled back into the battery as stored energy.


Effectiveness refers to the scale of impact that regenerative braking makes on the range. Does it substantially increase your riding range or the impact is actually negligible?

How Much E-bike Energy is Recovered by Regenerative Braking?

Regenerative braking in bicycles is less sophisticated compared to the one used by larger vehicles. According to experts, you can recoup anything in the region of 5-10% from a single charge, which is a decent extra range for your bike.

Bike back brake

Bike kack brake, image source:

Let’s assume that your e-bike has a range of about 50 miles on a full charge cycle. With regenerative braking, you’ll be able to recover kinetic energy that can provide you an additional 2.5 to 5 miles, and this is something that could surely make a difference for you and any other e-bike enthusiast.

Where Does the Rest of the Energy Go?

The reason why we can’t get much extra energy and range using regenerative braking, is due the reduced mass of the vehicle (an e-bike is much lighter than a car), and due to the fact that a good part of the energy is used to combat air resistance, while more of it is lost through noise and heat.

Since most of the energy is wasted, some people may argue that regenerative braking doesn’t make much of a difference.


Now that you know what is regenerative braking, I hope that you’ve understood how it can help you improve the range of your e-bike.

An e-bike can help you travel in the city and outside, without sweating too much and without polluting the environment.

Article written by:

I am a writer and reporter for the clean energy sector, I cover climate change issues, new clean technologies, sustainability and green cars. Danny Ovy

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