Regenerative braking is a pretty cool technology, and it definitely works to help extend the range of an electric vehicle, but is it enough to charge an EV on its own? One intrepid YouTuber wanted to find out, so in a video published recently, he decided to flat-tow his Model 3 with another car.
In case you're not familiar with how regenerative braking works, it basically uses the motion of the wheels to turn the armature inside the electric motor to generate current. Essentially, it turns your EV's drive motor into a big alternator. In theory, this should allow a driver to use a tow strap to pull their electric vehicle and put some charge in their battery.
In this instance, Matt from the channel Tech Forum used a 2013 Ford C-Max Energi to flat-tow his Model 3 with software around a small residential loop at speeds of around 20 miles per hour. The Tesla was towed for 1 mile, and he was then able to do 10 more miles of similar driving before giving up and driving home, with some charge left in the bank, so to speak.
On the surface, this is a pretty impressive feat, but when you consider that you'd have to have another vehicle that was able to pull you around, this obviously isn't a very efficient way to regularly charge your EV. It's also worth noting that Matt's Model 3's battery was already in a relatively high state of charge, to begin with. This process likely wouldn't work if your car was completely dead, and may be less efficient with a more discharged pack.
Still, it's pretty cool.
(h/t to Jalopnik for finding this video)