Tesla Brakes Explained: Ultimate Guide

Tesla brakes

Tesla electric cars has led automotive innovation on several fronts. Beyond its high-performance electric motors and advanced autopilot systems, Tesla's braking system is often lauded within the automotive industry. Tesla's braking system offers several benefits over traditional petrol vehicles

  • Improved safety;
  • Improve efficiency;
  • Reduced maintenance costs; and
  • Environmental benefits.

The Tesla Brake System

Tesla's electric rakes feature two braking systems which work together:

1. traditional braking systems; and

2. regenerative braking.

While traditional brakes use friction to slow down the vehicle, regenerative braking harnesses the energy produced during braking and feeds it back into the battery.

The level of regenerative braking can be adjust to 'low' or 'standard'. A higher level of regenerative braking will typically mean the car will be more reliant on the regenerative braking to slow down meaning less need to apply the brake pedal. Tesla's are known for their 'one-pedal' driving which means you almost never need to use the brake pedal whem driving.

tesla regen settingTesla regenerative braking setting

How Does Tesla Regenerative Braking Work?

When you apply the brakes in an electric vehicle, the regenerative braking system kicks in first. This system uses the electric motor as a generator, converting kinetic energy back into electrical energy, which is then stored in the battery. Once the limits of regenerative braking are reached or in situations requiring rapid braking, the conventional friction-based brakes take over.

Basically the energy used to slow down the car is stored in the battery for later use. Hybrid cars also use this technology but store the energy in a much smaller battery. This is the main reason why hybrid vehicles are more efficient than petrol.

how regenerative braking works

Benefits of Tesla EV Brakes


One of the primary benefits of electric car brakes is the ability to recuperate energy, which can increase the driving range of an EV. Regenerative braking can sometimes generate up to 30% of an electric vehicle’s energy. This will result in significant energy recuperation in stop-start traffic and going down hills. Refer to the below example.

This is the reason why hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius are up to 30% more efficient than equivalent petrol vehicles.

energy recovered from regenerative braking

Reduced Wear

Since regenerative braking reduces the reliance on the traditional braking system, there's less wear and tear on the brake pads and discs. Some Tesla owner’s have reported their brake pads lasting up to 160,000 km. This compares to petrol cars which will typically replace them between 30,000 to 100,,000 km

Smoother Driving Experience

The seamless transition between regenerative and traditional braking provides a smoother and more responsive braking experience.

Maintenance and Considerations

The brakes in a Tesla still need to be maintained properly. While they are likely to last longer, regular inspections ensure that both the regenerative and traditional braking components are in optimal condition. Additionally, be aware that the effectiveness of regenerative braking can vary depending on battery charge and temperature.

Tesla servicing


About the author

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Danny Thai

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Danny is a consultant and entrepreneur working at the cutting edge of the electric vehicle and energy transition. He is passionate about educating and helping consumers make better decisions through data. He is the founder of zecar and is currently the EV Innovation Manager at Endeavour Energy.

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