Do Electric Cars Have “Normal” Brakes? (Explained)

Most potential buyers wonder if electric cars (EVs) use standard brakes. If you’re one of them, don’t fret. You’ve come to the right place.

This article answers some frequently asked questions about EV brakes for EVs.

Do Electric Cars Have Special Brakes?

Brakes for Evs work almost the same way as any traditional brakes. The only difference is that EVs use brake-by-wire technology that powers your brakes with electricity. If your car loses power or fails, your EV will switch to a typical hydraulic system.

But before we dive in, let’s start by answering this crucial question:

How do brakes for electric cars work?

Brakes for EVs work differently from standard brakes.

For example, Gas-powered cars use what we call hydraulic brakes. If you don’t know what that is, here is a brief explanation: Hydraulic brakes use hydraulic pressure to push a braking surface against a metal rotating part.

If your car has a disc brake, it usually has a caliper that squeezes two brake pads against an iron rotor.

Your electric car will have brakes that are powered by electricity. But there are backup systems in place in case the power fails (similar to the hydraulic brakes on standard gas-driven cars).

Do electric cars use special brakes?

Your EV comes with a brake pedal, hydraulic brakes, and disc brake calipers that clamp your brake rotors to help your car slow down or stop. Still, your EV has a totally different electronic braking system.

It has a brake pedal, hydraulic brakes, and disc brake calipers that clamp your brake rotors to help your car slow down or stop. Still, your EV has another electronic braking system.

An EV uses a regenerative braking system.

The electronic braking then uses a system of electric motors to stop or slow down your car.

The same electric motor is responsible for powering your car by sending electricity from the battery. You don’t have to switch buttons for the regenerative braking system to work.

It works automatically.

Do electric cars have brake pedals?

EVs come with one pedal for braking and one for accelerating. You can use it to reduce the speed. Read more here about how many pedals electric cars have.

Or to stop your car.

For instance, you can lift your foot off the accelerator to slow down your vehicle.

Why does your EV use regular hydraulic brakes?

Your EV still uses standard brakes because your regenerative braking system alone can’t stop your EV quickly. For instance, let’s say you’re about to crash into another car, and your battery runs out.

Your electric brakes won’t be able to stop your vehicle quickly.

Hence, your EV still comes with hydraulic brakes.

What are the most common brake systems in electric cars?

When buying an EV, you should expect one of the most common brake systems.

  • Hydraulic braking system

First, your electric car will come with a hydraulic system. This brake system is a standard that uses brake fluid, friction, and cylinders.

One of the advantages of having a hydraulic braking system is that it can generate impressive pressure and stop your car.

When your regenerative braking torque is insufficient to help your car slow down or stop, the hydraulic will kick in automatically. The regenerative will then apply braking torque.

  • Electromagnetic braking system

Then you get an electromagnetic braking system.

You can find electromagnetic braking systems in many hybrid cars.

This system uses electromagnetism to achieve frictionless braking.

EVs with an electromagnetic braking system are not likely to use traditional brakes often. However, their brakes are likely to rust quicker than conventional brakes.

The brake fluid of the EVs is expected to degrade even when you’re not using it regularly. Check this article for a list of fluids in electric cars (it differs from gas-driven cars!)

Do electric cars use special brakes?

Yes, most new EVs use special brakes.

EVs use a regenerative braking system to help them reduce speed and to stop the car.

Do drivers have to use the brakes differently on electric vehicles?

Yes. Most EVs use “one-pedal driving,” which enables your car’s regenerative braking system.

When you lift your foot on the pedal, the regenerative system converts your motor into a generator, which converts the kinetic energy of your car’s speed.

Remember, if you’re new to driving an EV, you must adjust your driving style. Naturally, how you drive your EV significantly impacts energy regeneration and the eventual degradation of your battery.

So if you apply little braking force, you’ll allow your car to accelerate.

Cars such as the Nissan Leaf come with an e-pedal brake system, too. This system can apply regenerative braking in e-Pedal mode when you release the accelerator.

Do they have power brakes?

EVs come equipped with powerful brakes.

The power brakes system work similarly to a generator. It uses the friction from your EV, which means as your car goes, it charges your battery.

Do brakes on electric cars need electricity?

Yes! The brakes on all EVs need electricity.

EVs use regenerative braking, which allows you to reuse the energy.

Because your EVs use electricity and a hydraulic system simultaneously, your brakes won’t depend only on the availability of electricity. The electricity on your EVs causes the motor of your EV to run backward or slow down. So when the engine runs backward, it will also work as electricity.

Do electric cars have engine braking?

The simple answer is no. You can’t engine brake your EV because it doesn’t allow you to change down gears. This is because EVs come with an electric motor instead of an engine.

That doesn’t mean the brakes of your engine are not efficient.

Besides, EVs usually don’t come with a shift lever. And they don’t have a gearbox.

Instead, of a gearbox, most EVs come with a single-speed transmission. Though some electric cars do have gears and transmissions.

Drivers use engine braking to slow down a car by taking off the foot on the accelerator and shifting down through gears. Engine braking in engine-powered cars happens when you utilize the retarding forces within your engine. Once engine braking occurs.

It will slow down the motor of your vehicle.

The benefits of engine braking include:

  • Reducing wear and tear on your brakes.
  • Protecting your car against harm.

Final Thoughts

Outside, most EVs look more or less the same as ordinary gas-powered cars.

Yet, EVs come with a battery instead of a gasoline tank. And they use a totally different brake system.

EVs don’t have engines or gas tanks, except for PHEVs, which are usually powered by electricity and gasoline.

PHEVs come with a battery, an electric motor, a gasoline tank, and an internal combustion engine. The braking system on most PHEVs works differently from the regular braking system.

But for that, they will need good batteries.


EVs either use lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries. Because of their high energy density, they are often quite pricey. So it’s crucial that you take good care of them.

How long an EV battery holds power will largely depend on its size. And how you take care of your battery. To ensure that your battery lasts you for years, use one of the following tips:

  • Avoid overcharging your battery. The battery of your EV is likely to degrade faster, mainly if you recharge it more frequently.
  • Don’t expose your battery to extreme temperatures. Parking your EV in a spot that exposes your car to direct sun will degrade your battery’s quality.
  • Charge the battery of your EV properly. And by this, we mean keeping your battery’s state from zero to 80%. If you charge too low or extremely high, it will reduce the lifespan significantly. Experts recommend keeping your battery charged between 20% and 80% of the onscreen capacity.
  • Don’t overuse your air conditioning. When you overuse the aircon and heater in your EV, it’ll impact the energy efficiency of your car.
  • Pay attention to eco-features. Most EVs come with eco-driving features that can increase the driving range up to significantly.
  • Use a timer when charging. After charging, allow your battery to cool down. This will minimize battery use when the cell’s voltage is still high. Wait at least 30 to 60 minutes before driving your EV.



Was this article helpful? Like Dislike

Click to share...

Did you find wrong information or was something missing?
We would love to hear your thoughts! (PS: We read ALL feedback)