- Ford and Samsung announced that they're working on new technology that would bring regenerative braking to non-hybrid vehicles for the first time in the quest to improve fuel economy.
- Regenerative systems, commonly found on hybrid and electric vehicles, capture energy normally lost during braking and send it to storage batteries for reuse.
- Ford and Samsung are also working on an ultra-lightweight lithium-ion battery that will offer a weight reduction of up to 40 percent compared to lead-acid batteries.
SAN FRANCISCO — Ford and Samsung announced that they're working on new technology that would bring regenerative braking to non-hybrid vehicles for the first time in the quest to improve fuel economy.
Regenerative brake systems, most commonly found on hybrid and electric vehicles, including the 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Toyota Prius, capture energy normally lost during the braking process and send it to storage batteries for reuse. Ford says the regenerative systems in its current lineup of hybrids are able to redirect up to 95 percent of the energy lost during braking.
The Ford-Samsung 10-year research initiative has resulted in a dual-battery system that combines a lithium-ion battery with a conventional 12-volt lead-acid battery. Working in conjunction with Ford's auto stop-start engine, the system would provide significant fuel savings and reduce emissions.
Stop-start technology turns off the internal-combustion engine when the vehicle is stopped — for example, at a red light or when stuck in traffic. The advanced battery system then powers on-board systems and accessories until the driver releases the brake, at which point the engine restarts.
"We are currently expanding our Auto Start-Stop technology across 70 percent of our lineup," said Ted Miller, Ford's senior manager, Energy Storage Strategy and Research, in a statement. "This dual-battery system has the potential to bring even more levels of hybridization to our vehicles for greater energy savings across the board."
In addition, Miller said: "Although still in research, this type of battery could provide a near-term solution for greater reduction of carbon dioxide."
Longer term, Ford and Samsung are also working on an ultra-lightweight lithium-ion battery that they say offers a weight reduction of up to 40 percent — 12 pounds — compared to similar lead-acid batteries. Such "lightweighting" contributes to increased fuel economy and better overall performance.
Regenerative braking isn't exactly a new concept. Some examples appeared on electric cars as far back as the early 1900s. And it's been used on trains and streetcars for many decades.
More recently, regenerative brake systems have been built into hybrids and electrics, where the need for a steady supply of power to charge batteries is critical in extending the vehicle's range.
Edmunds says: Ford's partnership with Samsung could expand regenerative braking beyond the hybrid-electric market. This technology will help consumers to achieve maximum energy efficiency while driving — which in turn saves money.