The concept of regenerative braking was first introduced in a car by M. A. Darracq in 1897.
Later AMC Amitron provided regenerative braking in its electric car built in 1967.
All the latest electric cars use regenerative braking to improve the battery range.
However, there is an inadvertent safety advantage of regenerative braking in cars.
This advantage is more pronounced in electric cars that provide the option of strong regenerative braking.
In situations of emergency braking, the driver has to move the foot off the accelerator pedal and then press the brake pedal.
The time taken to move the foot from acceleration pedal to brake pedal, also known as Brake movement time, has been reported to be approximately 0.354 seconds.
This would mean that a car travelling at 60 miles/hour would have travelled an additional 9 meters before the driver starts to press the brake pedal.
However, in cars with strong regenerative braking, the car starts to brake as soon as the foot is taken off the accelerator pedal, thus reducing the stopping distance in emergency braking situations.
There have been no studies performed to compare the reduction in stopping distance between cars with and without regenerative braking.
In theory, a 0.354 seconds of brake movement time would be saved in cars with regenerative braking, which would translate to a reduction in braking distance by 9 meters in a car travelling at 60 miles/hour or a reduction in braking distance of 4.74 meters in a car travelling at 30 miles/hour.
These are theoretical calculations and do include the effect of deceleration.
Although these are theoretical calculations, a reduction in the braking distance of approximately 4 meters would be a significant distance in terms of causing or preventing collision, in situations of emergency braking.
Reduction in braking distance is a serendipitous healthy side effect of the regenerative braking technology, which can improve safety during emergency braking.
Continuing improvements in regenerative braking technology are likely to make future electric cars, not only energy efficient but also safer.