One of the LEAF’s most important features is its regenerative braking. It can add power back to the battery and enhance the LEAF’s range. It also makes e-Pedal driving even more efficient compared to a petrol or diesel equivalent.


Nissan LEAF driving in city by night

What is regenerative braking?

You probably know that the electric motor in your LEAF powers your drive. But you might not know that this electric motor can run in two directions. In normal driving, it moves in one direction to drive LEAF’s front wheels.

The electric motor can also run in the other direction. When it does that, the motor becomes a generator capable of charging the battery.

On a petrol-powered car, when you use the brakes, hydraulic pressure pushes the brake pads on the rotors, and the vehicle slows down. By reducing the kinetic energy (motion), the by-product of this system is heat. If you’ve ever driven down a mountain, you know how hot those brakes can get!

When you slow down your LEAF or hit the brakes, you have a hydraulic system like a petrol-powered car, but you also have regenerative braking, thanks to LEAF’s electric motor. That electric motor takes the kinetic energy and by resisting the forward motion of the vehicle, puts that energy back into the battery.

How does my LEAF use regenerative braking?

Nissan has an advanced system called Electric Driven Intelligent Brake. It combines traditional hydraulic braking, which is known for a natural feel through the brake pedal, and regenerative braking to enhance range.

How can I get the most out of regenerative braking?

Nissan LEAF e-Pedal and shift lever in B-mode

Every time you slow down or brake, your LEAF automatically will apply regenerative braking, but there are a few things you can do to enhance the system.

Use e-Pedal – By employing the one-pedal, e-Pedal system, your LEAF can enhance the amount of regenerative braking by employing the brakes more gradually. To learn more about using your e-Pedal, click below.

Use B-mode – By placing your shift lever into B-mode, you will increase the percentage of regenerative braking enhancing range. B-mode is highly recommended when going downhill, taking that energy of coasting and slowing down, and putting it into your LEAF’s battery.

Let’s talk tech

After stepping on the brake pedal, the system produces natural and adequate braking force that corresponds to the operation. In the case of an EV, the amount of energy regeneration also needs to be increased as much as possible. See Figure 01.

Nissan LEAF desired regenerative braking chart

Figure 01 - Regenerative cooperative brake control

EDIB (Electric Driven Intelligent Brake) controls the regenerative brake and friction brake to support both of these requirements. Further, it also controls the reactive force from the pedal in order to unify the feeling when stepping down on the pedal and the sense of deceleration. See Figure 02.

Nissan LEAF brake pedal resistance chart

Figure 02 - Brake pedal resisitance is optimised to suit human perception

Technology configuration

When the driver steps on the brake pedal, the stroke sensor detects operation of the brake. That information is communicated to the ECU and controls the motor. The motor engages the piston and amplifies the friction brake's pressure (hydraulic pressure). Through optimum control of the friction brake's hydraulic pressure, the energy regeneration outcome is maximised.