Consumer Reports: Some EVs Do Not Shine Brake Lights When Using Regenerative Braking

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

One-pedal driving is one of the more well-known features of electric vehicles, but Consumer Reports recently voiced concerns that the feature might be more dangerous than initially thought.

It turns out that using regenerative braking to stop an EV might not activate the brake lights in the same way that pressing the brake in a gas vehicle does. As the publication points out, the feature can rapidly slow a vehicle in the same way that conventional braking does, so there could easily be confusion between drivers. 

Consumer Reports found that some Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis EVs don’t illuminate their brake lights when regenerative braking is active, failing to alert following vehicles that they are slowing down. It’s important to point out that the brake lights do illuminate if the driver lifts off the throttle completely, but a slight reduction in pedal pressure does not. 

The Hyundai Ioniq 6 did perform as expected, but Consumer Reports advises owners of other EV models to avoid using the strongest regenerative braking settings until a fix can be released. It’s unclear how the automakers plan to remedy the issue, but reps for the companies told Consumer Reports that they are aware of the problem and are working on a path forward. At the same time, they are careful to note that the vehicles still meet federal safety standards with the braking features active.

[Image: Kia]

Chris Teague
Chris Teague

Chris grew up in, under, and around cars, but took the long way around to becoming an automotive writer. After a career in technology consulting and a trip through business school, Chris began writing about the automotive industry as a way to reconnect with his passion and get behind the wheel of a new car every week. He focuses on taking complex industry stories and making them digestible by any reader. Just don’t expect him to stay away from high-mileage Porsches.

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9 of 45 comments
  • Undead Zed Undead Zed on Jun 14, 2023

    I saw a video about this a week or two ago from Technology Connections on YT, he did a good job explaining this issue. I do hope that manufacturers and regulators can figure out something for consistency, cause right now it seems like each manufacturer handles it differently.

    • See 1 previous
    • CrackedLCD CrackedLCD on Jun 15, 2023

      The TC video is what prompted Consumer Reports to look into this in the first place. I was surprised to see them tackling the subject.

  • KOKing KOKing on Jun 14, 2023

    I was a bit surprised to discover that the 'brake hold; feature in my normal gas Honda turns the brake lights on when active. I'd think if that was some regulation, a car stopped in neutral is equivalent but I've never heard of that turning on the lights,

    • See 1 previous
    • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Jun 15, 2023

      Brake Hold actually applies the brakes if you engage the system and bring the car to a stop, but don’t have the brake pedal most of the way to the floor; you’ll feel the pedal move down. Same thing when the ACC applies the brakes—the brake pedal actually moves.

  • Tylanner Tylanner on Jun 15, 2023

    Going from 5th to 2nd can achieve the same thing...

    • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Jun 15, 2023

      Hopefully not at too high a speed, otherwise goodbye transmission! If it’s a manual, I suppose it’s on you!

  • Tagbert Tagbert on Jun 17, 2023

    Some EVs have accelerometers that measure the deceleration and activate the brake lights above a certain level. GM does this on the Bolts and Volts. The high regen setting is like applying the brakes moderately and the brake lights are lit. The low regen setting is like engine braking from accelerator lift-off and the brake lights stay off.