Regenerative Breaking in a Tesla

Regenerative Breaking in a Tesla

One of the most fascinating features in a Tesla is the innovative regenerative braking technology. This regenerative braking is not just a key to an enhanced driving experience, but also helps you to maximize the range of your vehicle. Once you get used to one-pedal driving, you'll likely never want to drive anything else.

In this article, we'll show you exactly what's behind the term regenerative braking and how you can perfectly adjust the regenerative braking settings in your Tesla Model 3 or Y to your driving style.

What is Regenerative Braking?

When you release the accelerator pedal of your Model 3 or Y or apply the brakes, the Tesla's electric motor is switched into a generator mode. In this mode, the motor acts like a generator, converting the vehicle's kinetic energy into electricity. This recovered energy is then used to recharge the vehicle's battery, increasing the range of the vehicle and reducing reliance on external charging.

This effect is known as regenerative braking.

Regenerative braking is a key element for the efficiency of Tesla vehicles. It helps improve energy efficiency and reduce wear on the brakes. It feels like strong engine braking, similar to what is found in motorcycles.

If you drive your Tesla down a long hill, you'll see several percent of the battery getting recharged. On a drive through Switzerland towards Italy, I once recharged 8% of the battery on a downhill stretch. That's how much this technology can contribute.

Benefits of Regenerative Braking

  1. Energy Efficiency: Converts kinetic energy into electrical energy, which would otherwise be lost during braking.

  2. Increased Range: The recovered energy is used to recharge the battery, extending the overall range of the vehicle.

  3. Reduced Wear on Brakes: Since the regenerative braking technology takes over much of the braking process, wear on the brake discs is reduced.

  4. Environmentally Friendly: Reduces overall energy consumption and supports more sustainable driving practices.

  5. Cost Savings: Long-term savings through reduced wear on brakes and less frequent charging.

Disadvantages of Regenerative Braking

  1. Adjustment: One-pedal driving can be unfamiliar for new Tesla drivers and may require some time to get used to.

  2. Limited Effectiveness at Full Battery: When the battery is nearly full, the recovered energy cannot be efficiently used, as the battery cannot be further charged. The regenerative braking in Tesla is reduced, and the driving feel changes.

  3. Increased Risk of Brake Rusting: Since the brakes in Tesla are hardly used anymore, the risk of the brake discs rusting over time increases, as they are not being used.

Setting Regenerative Braking in Tesla

Adjusting the regenerative braking in your Tesla is a breeze. Follow these steps on the touchscreen:

  1. Tap on "Vehicle" in the menu.

  2. Select "Pedals & Steering".

  3. Go to "Regenerative Braking System".

Here, you can choose between two settings: "Low" and "Standard". We will now show you in greater detail what exactly the two modes mean and how strong the regenerative braking is in each.

Which Regenerative Braking Setting Suits You?

Fundamentally, regenerative braking is just a matter of getting used to, and I myself am a big fan of one-pedal driving because it makes everyday driving so pleasant. To help you find the right setting for yourself, we have compared the two options for you.

Low Regeneration:

  • Ideal if you prefer the transition from a conventional automatic car to an electric car with as few changes as possible.

  • In this setting, the regenerative braking system works in a limited capacity. When you release the accelerator pedal, the Model 3 or Y barely slows down and continues to roll, similar to an automatic car.

  • This setting is perfect if you prefer a gentler braking behavior.

Standard Regeneration:

  • The best choice to fully exploit the potential of your Tesla Model Y or Model 3.

  • Here, the regenerative braking system operates at maximum level. When you release the accelerator pedal, the car slows down significantly. This enables one-pedal driving.

  • Ideal for maximizing the range of your Tesla and reducing the use of brakes.


Adjusting the regenerative braking in your Tesla gives you the flexibility to tailor your driving experience to your preferences. While the "Standard" setting is ideal for maximizing range and minimizing brake usage, the "Low" setting offers a more familiar driving feel, similar to a conventional automatic car. Regardless of which option you choose, the regenerative braking in your Tesla Model Y and 3 offers an impressive combination of efficiency, comfort, and performance.

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