Do you know what regenerative braking is? If so, raise your hand. My hand is up, but only because I have Engineers I can ask about it. The simple explanation is that the car uses braking energy to charge the battery. The kinetic energy is transferred into electrical energy and fed back into the high-voltage battery which in turns increases range or the distance you can drive.
This occurs in three different ways automatically:
1. Releasing your foot from the “gas” pedal
2. Lightly applying the brakes (just enough to get the tail lights to come on)
3. Full application of the brakes.
Now, should you get a smart electric drive with the paddle shifters (the word “shifters” is used loosely here because the car only has one drive gear), you have control as the driver over the amount of regeneration you want. Foolishly I only took one picture of the instrument cluster as you can see. So, I will draw the other scenarios to best explain.
Level 1 - This is the “D” for drive with nothing next to it. This means that regenerative braking is on and in “normal” mode or the standard setting which is also the default setting when the car is turned on.
Level 2 – This is the “D” for drive with the plus next to it. This setting offers the most amount of regenerative braking possible. When you lift your foot off of the accelerator you can really feel the car brake harder and this will also offer the most recharging.
Below is a screenshot of what Level 2 looks like in the instrument cluster.