Lemberg Law is investigating complaints that the brake lights of 2022 Kia EV6 vehicles don’t trigger as drivers expect them to do when they use i-Pedal mode and regenerative braking. Complaints state that there is no indication that the car’s brake lights aren’t functioning until drivers behind them honk their horns or stop them to say their brake lights are out.
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Is There a Problem with the Brake Lights?
If you don’t fully release the pedal when driving in i-Pedal mode, the brake lights won’t light up. This is a potential safety hazard because anyone driving behind the 2022 Kia EV6 would not be aware that the vehicle was coming to a stop, which increases the risk of a crash.
A large number of owners have lodged complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Others have turned to Kia EV Forums for answers. There are multiple threads in the forum discussing the problem, all of which emphasize the danger of being rear-ended. They also highlight the probability that traffic cops might stop them, believing that their brake lights aren’t working.
Most are confused as to what they can do to ensure that their brake lights come on when they are slowing down to stop. For most, it’s a case of trial and error.
What Brake Light Issues are Owners Experiencing?
2022 Kia EV6 owners complain that when they use heavy or higher regenerative (regen) braking, the brake light doesn’t activate. This means that other drivers on the road, specifically those behind them, aren’t warned that they are stopping. There are multiple complaints that this is a safety risk that increases the chance of a collision.
As one Kia EV Forum member states, “driving in Detroit without any brake lights when people around are speeding 20+ MPH above the limit and cutting into your narrow secure distance at any moment’s notice to make you step on the brakes, feels like walking on very thin ice and waiting for bad things to happen from a car behind.”
She called the dealership and was told that “they are not trained to fix this but can run a diagnostic test and will charge me for it.”
Complaints to the NHTSA
Complaints from owners of the 2022 Kia EV6 about the brake light problem are submitted to the NHTSA as brake, exterior lighting, and electrical system problems. They all say essentially the same thing, some in more detail than others.
Conclusions are varied, but concerned. For example, “In my opinion, the vehicle should be recalled to apply a fix that signals braking and intent to slow down that is consistent with the deceleration of the vehicle.”
And, “Although I have not yet been involved in a collision, I have been advised by other drivers that my brake lights are not working, and have had multiple ‘close-calls’ where drivers behind me have been unable to correctly determine that my vehicle is decelerating.” This, the complaint states, “caused them to brake erratically or harshly, putting myself and others at risk.”
What do Other NHTSA Complaints Say?
“The rear brake lights do not illuminate under heavy i-Pedal and Level 3 regeneration when the throttle pedal is being touched.” The complaint goes on to say that when “moderating” the rate of deceleration with the throttle pedal, the brake lights do not illuminate even if deceleration is rapid. This significantly increases the risk of getting rear-ended in traffic.
Another complaint states, “When heavy regenerative braking is used, the car decelerates very quickly. Despite this, the brake lights do not turn on. This is very dangerous as the regenerative braking can be used to completely stop the vehicle. People driving behind me need to be aware that I am coming to a stop and are not currently warned.”
A third complaint gives a bit more detail about the experience. “The brake light does not activate in a way that would signal to other drivers that the vehicle is stopping or slowing down while using higher regenerative braking. The i-Pedal mode can have a significant amount of deceleration and not activate the brake light, even coming to a full stop and not activating the light if the driver’s foot is not completely off the pedal. I have been told by other drivers that my brake lights were out when I expected that they were working. Testing this with an ODB2 (a Bluetooth diagnostic device) and another driver following behind me confirmed that the Kia EV6 does not activate brake lights when it should.”
Dealers confirm “that the driver needs to take their foot off of the accelerator to actuate the brake lights.”
There are several NHTSA complaints as well as forum entries that refer to a detailed YouTube video released in May 2023.
Video: Electric Cars Prove We Need to Rethink Brake Lights
The brake light problem is illustrated in the video using a Hyundai Ioniq 5. But, the suggestion is that the same problem applies to the EV6 and Genesis GV60. EV6 owners agree that it does. This is not surprising, since Hyundai Motor Company owns Kia Motors and Genesis is a premium sub-brand of Hyundai. Even though the companies operate independently, the EVs are built using the same basic platform.
In the video, we are reminded that we didn’t have to think about what makes a car’s brake lights come on. It’s because you depressed the brake pedal. But many “modern” cars slow down on their own because they have automatic emergency braking or radar adaptive cruise control. Additionally, many electric cars have a one-pedal driving mode, and the brakes are controlled with software.
Ultimately, the problem is that the brake lights in these cars only come on when your foot is completely off the pedal. This is why it maintains that electric car manufacturers should rethink the way brake lights work (or don’t work).
EV Forum conversations about Kia EV6 i-Pedal and brake lights go back to March 2022. An early discussion starter launched to find out when the brake lights illuminate using i-Pedal is still active. It started with the question, “From what I can gather, the only time your brake lights illuminate while using iPedal is when you completely remove your foot off the pedal. Is this correct? For the other ‘Levels’ of regenerative braking, brake lights do not come on at all without pressing the brake pedal itself. Is this true?
“If true, this seems incredibly dangerous. When you slow down in iPedal mode without fully removing your foot from the pedal, deacceleration (deceleration) can be significant and with no brake lights illuminated, a rear end collision seems a ‘when’, not ‘if’ proposition.”
Another comment states that while the owner loves i-Pedal, “I’ve discovered that under the way I drive and modulate my deceleration (using the go pedal), my brake lights almost never come on! And when they do, it’s at 2-3 MPH before the car fully stops. Even under what I would consider sufficiently heavy regen (letting up on the go-pedal for more aggressive stopping than simple coasting would, say, in an ICE car), my brake lights are not coming on.”
The comment continues, ending, “If my car is behaving as designed and is not a one-off miscalibration, then i-Pedal is introducing what I consider a significant danger of being rear-ended.”
One of the most recent comments on the forum draws attention to a technical service bulletin (TSB) issued by Kia on April 10, 2023. The comment refers to “an iPedal logic upgrade for all EV6s produced up to February 2023.” By June 7, 2023, there was no feedback in the forum from members on this.
Service Action TSB for the iPedal Operation Logic
TSB ELE292 is what Kia calls a Service Action, which “is a repair program without customer notification that is performed during the warranty period.” SA533 relates to a vehicle control unit (VCU) system software update that aims to “improve the i-Pedal operation logic.”
However, it doesn’t refer directly to the widespread brake light problem that Kia EV6 owners are experiencing.
It states that the regenerative braking system “charges the battery when coasting or when you use the brakes to stop the vehicle.” Then it describes how to adjust the regenerative braking level from 0 to 3 during decelerating or braking. It also states that the i-Pedal driving feature “controls the vehicle speed by the accelerator pedal, both acceleration and deceleration. In addition, some of the affected vehicles require the application of a leaflet to the owner’s manual regarding operation of the Electronic Parking Brake (EPB) feature.”
The question is, will it solve the brake light problem? It doesn’t say!
What Should You Do if Your EV6 has a Brake Light Problems?
If you are experiencing problems with your 2022 Kia EV6 brake lights not illuminating, you may want to consider joining our class action investigation. Lemberg Law needs as much information as possible to get an accurate view of the problems Kia EV6 owners with brake light problems are facing.
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. If you’ve landed with a lemon, we want to know about it.