© DB AG / Faruk Hosseini

Generating electricity by braking

Our trains are not just energy-efficient. Some of them even generate power themselves – simply by braking. Because all modern electric trains at Deutsche Bahn are equipped with a brake energy recovery function. When they brake, their motors act as generators, converting the kinetic energy into electricity, which then flows back into the overhead line. This electricity can then be used again by other trains.

Overview of how brake energy recovery works

In 2022, this generated a total of around 1,487 gigawatt hours of electricity. This saves trains such as the ICE as much electricity in one year as around 363,000 four-person households consume annually.

Regenerative braking for a greener bus fleet

It's not just our trains that can "reuse" energy: our buses can too. A growing number of vehicles feature a generator, a device that can produce electricity when the vehicle brakes. This power is then stored and used at a later point in time: for example, to power all of the bus's lights, even when the vehicle is stationary and the engine is off. This helps us to reduce our bus fleet's fuel consumption and also cut CO2 emissions.

Many of these "mild hybrid" buses are already in use, for example at our partner company Südwestbus in Baden-Württemberg. With their innovative drive technology and modern EURO VI engines, they help to make road traffic a lot more environmentally friendly.

One of the new mild hybrid buses that joined our fleet.