Lemberg Law is investigating complaints that the 2022-2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 brake lights don’t activate as they should when drivers use full one-pedal driving. Many drivers state that they have serious safety concerns because of this. As a result, there are suggestions that Hyundai should rethink the way brake lights work in their electric cars.
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Is There a Problem with the Brake Lights?
There is a major problem with the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 brake lights. Unless you release the accelerator completely when slowing down in i-Pedal mode, the “service brake” lights don’t come on. This, as affected Ioniq 5 drivers point out, is a massive safety concern.
As a complaint to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from an owner in North Carolina states, “The drivers behind you do not know you are slowing down even though your deceleration is quite sharp.” It stands to reason that this produces an immediate, very real risk of a crash.
Launched in the U.S. in 2021, the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 is regarded as the automaker’s “breakthrough electric SUV.” One of the many features they promote is regenerative braking, a “smart” system that you can set to high or lower levels of braking. The highlight is that, “Braking can actually extend your driving range. When you coast or brake, the regenerative brakes convert the wheels’ rotations into electricity, which is stored in the battery for future use.”
The top (highest) level of regenerative braking available is the i-Pedal function. This “activates the brakes when you take your foot off the accelerator, slowing to a complete stop.” But there is nothing in the promotional literature that warns drivers that full one-pedal driving (which is what the i-Pedal mode is), prevents the brake light from coming on.
This is essentially the same issue that 2022 Kia EV6 drivers are experiencing, as we reveal in a separate class action investigation post, 2022 Kia EV6 Brake Light Problem. There are indications that the issue may also apply to the Genesis GV60, a luxury Hyundai model. While Hyundai owns Kia, the two companies operate independently. But all three EVs are manufactured using the same basic platform.
What Brake Light Issues are Owners Experiencing?
Complaints from 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 owners about the brake light problem are submitted to the NHTSA as service brakes, exterior lighting, electrical system, and unknown or other issues. The major problem they describe is that the brake lights don’t illuminate in i-Pedal driving unless the accelerator pedal is fully released. As one of the many complaints states, “I often bring the car to a complete stop with the brake lights never illuminating until I’m nearly stopped, around 5 mph or less.”
Another complaint states that the Ioniq 5 “can use regenerative braking to slow fully to a stop. However, using regen to slow sharply does not activate the brake lights unless the accelerator pedal is fully released. This means that you can slow at a significant rate without alerting vehicles behind you that you are slowing. Vehicle should activate brake lights when slowing beyond a specific rate.” It adds that the issue occurs at all speeds.
The danger, some complaints say, is that this is an accident waiting to happen.”I often see people ride up behind me quickly and have to slam on their brakes as they don’t realize I’m slowing down so rapidly.”
Comments on the Ioniq Forum are mixed. Some members say it isn’t an issue at all. Others say they don’t use iPedal mode so it doesn’t affect them. And then there are those who state that i-Pedal is downright dangerous.
A YouTube video shared on the Ioniq Forum maintains that electric car manufacturers should rethink the way brake lights work. Even though the video features a Hyundai Ioniq 5, it also mentions the Kia eV6 and Genesis GV60. Ultimately, it states that Hyundai should recall the car “and perform a software update to make the brake lights actually work in a sensible fashion.”
Experienced EV Drivers Unlikely to Know Their Brake Lights Aren’t Working
A thought-provoking NHTSA complaint states that if drivers have “driven other EVs in the past and prefer the one pedal driving mode, they may not know that their brake lights aren’t illuminating during heavy deceleration.” This creates “a significant danger of being rear-ended when driving in heavy traffic.”
It explains that the Ioniq 5 uses regenerative braking like other EVs do. However, a major difference is that “other EV manufacturers illuminate the brake lights based on the cars measured deceleration when using regenerative braking, and do not have this issue.”
The explanation about how it works is simple. Setting regenerative braking to 1, 2, 3, or i-Pedal mode determines its automatic strength when the position of the accelerator pedal is raised above the current speed. “i-Pedal mode is full one-pedal driving, allowing the driver to slow to a stop without use of the brake pedal at all. At level 2, 3, or i-Pedal, the car is capable of decelerating at a significant rate even when the driver is still pressing down on the pedal.”
“If you consider it as a percentage and take ‘foot off the pedal’ as 0%, and ‘pedal pressed as far as it can go’ as 100%, a driver could be traveling at 70 mph on the highway, with the pedal pressed at around 60%. The driver could then lift the pedal to only 30%, and the regenerative braking would then slow the car to, say, 30 mph. This deceleration can be very strong when set to a high regen level. However, the brake lights do not illuminate unless the driver takes their foot completely off of the accelerator. In i-Pedal mode especially, it is possible to decelerate from highway speed to a near stop in only a matter of seconds, without the brake lights ever activating.”
Danger of Being Rear-Ended When Using iPedal Mode
Is there a danger of being rear-ended when using i-Pedal? This complainant thinks that there is.
“The Ioniq 5 has a one pedal driving mode, where the car will come to a complete stop without needing to press the brake pedal, similar to other EVs. In this mode, the gas pedal operates differently than in a conventional car. Pressing the pedal approximately 1/3 of the way down represents neutral, where the car coasts. Pressing the pedal less than that – between 1/3 and not pressing it at all – applies braking power to the car, either through regenerative braking or the application of the physical brakes.
“The issue is, the brake lights on the rear of the vehicle do not light up when the gas pedal is depressed any amount. If you press the gas pedal as lightly as possible, the car will brake a fair amount, but there is no warning to drivers behind that you are decelerating. I have twice been almost rear-ended, both times while slowing down in one pedal mode. I suspect the lack of brake lights, until you take your foot fully off the gas pedal is a contributing factor. Other Ioniq 5 users have experienced the same issue.”
Car Stops Without the Driver Touching the Brake
Because Ioniq 5 vehicles can stop without drivers ever touching the brakes, this complainant wants software changes.
“I would recommend that Hyundai tune their software so that the brake lights illuminate automatically past a set threshold of deceleration/regen braking (above what would be expected if the car was simply coasting), but not requiring the driver to fully lift off the pedal, since at that point, the rate of deceleration is already uncomfortably high for typical driving.”
The complaint explains why.
“When using the car in “i-Pedal” (one-pedal driving) mode — the highest brake regen setting — the car can come to a complete stop whenever I lift my foot off the accelerator pedal, without touching the brake. While in this mode, when I fully lift my foot off the accelerator, the rear brake lights illuminate as expected. However, I often slowly reduce pressure on the accelerator pedal to come gently to a stop.
“I’ve noticed that it’s possible (and often the case) that I can decelerate to a full stop without the brake lights illuminating until I fully release the brake pedal at the very last moment before I stop. This means that I can be slowing down at a pretty significant rate without any indication to the drivers behind. Conversely, when using the automatic cruise control that keeps the car a set distance from car ahead, the brake lights seem overly active and flash on and off quite frequently, especially when going down hills (even if there is no deceleration and the car seems to be coasting). Both of these anomalies seem to aggravate other drivers following the car for different reasons, since the vehicle’s intent isn’t being properly communicated. The lack of expected brake lights when decelerating gently via i-Pedal mode seems potentially dangerous.”
What Should You Do if Your Ioniq 5 has a Brake Light Problem?
There is definitely a brake light problem with the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5. But not every vehicle exhibits the problem. This is to be expected. Commonly, only a relatively small number of vehicles will malfunction sufficiently to qualify as a lemon.
But what if your 2022 Ioniq 5 is a lemon?
If you identify with the kinds of issues described in this post, there is a possibility that you are one of the unlucky ones who has bought a lemon. But all is not lost. If you’d like to join our class action investigation all you need to do is call us at 844-928-4443 or complete our contact form. We will evaluate your case and see if you qualify.