It’s easy to think of the vehicles we drive as relatively mysterious entities; we know that our cars need fuel, oil changes, and the occasional wash, but the “why” for these necessary tasks can be relatively elusive. Yet every aspect of our vehicles’ operation serves a purpose, and was initially conceived of to resolve an engineering problem.
Electric vehicles are designed to solve problems that fossil fuel-powered cars and trucks never could. Electric vehicles and hybrids pose many solutions to age-old issues, but perhaps none address as longstanding an automotive dilemma as regenerative braking.
Physics class taught us that energy can be neither created nor destroyed, which means that the energy pushing your car forward does not simply disappear when you apply the brakes. Where does this energy go? Most of it is sent out as heat, as anyone who has touched the brakes on a mountain bike after a long downhill ride can attest. Hybrids and electric vehicles allow drivers to maintain a portion of this otherwise wasted energy through the process of regenerative braking.
To accomplish this feat, electric vehicles pull off a pretty ingenious feat. When you apply the gas on an electric vehicle, the battery sends energy to the wheels, moving the vehicle forward. When you apply the brakes, however, that system reverses; when braking, electric vehicles send energy from the wheels to the battery via the motor, which functions in this scenario as an electric generator. In this way, electric vehicles and hybrids are able to salvage some of the energy wasted by slowing or coming to a stop.
The Kia Soul EV (electric vehicle) takes this electric advantage to a whole other level. When in drive, the Soul EV is a model of electric efficiency. But if the driver is to shift one gear further, into “B” Mode, the Soul EV becomes a regenerative braking machine. This change is aggressive; the Soul EV sets itself apart from its competition not only with its EPA-estimated 90-mile range, but also with its remarkable acceleration. “B” Mode takes some of the pep out of the Soul’s drivability, but the difference in efficiency can be felt in its range, especially if one drives conservatively to maximize regeneration.
The Soul EV is ahead of its time and at the head of its class. Come in to Butler Kia to learn about what makes this car, and Kia’s commitment to its success in the growing network of charging stations, truly special!