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Brake Energy Regeneration

Make use of every watt: by charging the battery only when your BMW is braking, coasting or decelerating, Brake Energy Regeneration improves fuel efficiency by up to three percent and ensures that the full power of your engine is available for acceleration.

Today's vehicles require much more electrical energy than older models, due to the much wider array of electric and electronic on-board comfort and safety systems. This energy is created by the generator (also known as the alternator) which converts the engine's power output into electricity. In conventional systems, the generator is permanently driven by a belt connected to the engine.
BMW's Brake Energy Regeneration operates differently: the generator is activated only when you take your foot from the accelerator or apply the brake. The kinetic energy that would otherwise go to waste is now used efficiently, converted into electricity by the generator and stored in the battery.
Producing electricity in this highly efficient way delivers an additional advantage: when you apply the accelerator, the generator is deactivated - so the full power of the engine can be directed to the drive wheels. Brake Energy Regeneration thus increases fuel efficiency while simultaneously enhancing driving dynamics. As a safety precaution, the Brake Energy Regeneration system monitors the level of battery charge and will, if necessary, continue to charge the battery even during acceleration to prevent a complete discharging of the battery.

Even more intensive is the use of freed-up kinetic energy in vehicles with electric motors, like the BMW ActiveHybrid models or the BMW ActiveE with fully-electric drive system. In this case, the motor serves as a generator and produces electricity as soon as the driver takes his foot off the accelerator. This principle increases the range of the BMW ActiveE by up to 20 percent.
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