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Brake Light: Regen Braking!

Spacep0d

Active Member
Apr 20, 2019
1,037
1,233
Wildomar, CA
Greetings Teslarati and fans!

I know I'm kinda posting a lot lately because I'm doing a lot of research before ordering my Model 3 in February.

I've noticed that with EVs in general and namely with regenerative braking, that brake light is constantly going on. Even if the car maintains a relatively stable velocity, that brake light keeps coming on (correct me if I'm wrong here).

What I've noticed is that some EV driver brake light patterns makes it look like they're constantly riding the brakes or braking whilst stepping on the gas. To be less charitable, the braking pattern can look a little crazy to me at times, or makes one look like a bad or nervous driver, at least this would be the case in an ICE car.

It's a bizarre new paradigm. In my humble opinion, it's overkill and I would love a way to only have the car show brake lights when I actively press on the brake. That said, the obvious counter to my argument is that one-pedal driving can bring the car to a stop, right? So, in this situation the brake light makes sense, but not so much at freeway speeds where you're simply letting off the gas. With other vehicles, letting off the throttle and engine braking is part of driving, without any brake light drama.

Has anyone found a solution for making the brake light patterns on an EV (Tesla included) look less....neurotic? Having the brake light go on with slight regen vs. full on braking is the same intensity, which I find odd. I understand that Tesla or another manufacturer may have been experimenting with 'levels' of braking intensity with different brake light intensity, which I think makes sense in this new world of one-pedal driving, regen braking, and active braking....to differentiate between how fast one might predict a car to be slowing ahead.

Any thoughts on this? I think this is my primary complaint about EVs right now. To that end, it would affect how I drive so I don't abuse my brake lights and confuse drivers behind me. I'd basically be positive throttle unless there was a good reason not to be, albeit with varying levels of throttle pressure. I would use one-pedal driving and regen braking when it made sense to do so once I knew my braking distances (much how I did with the 2018 LEAF S I owned for a while).

Thanks!
 
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Spacep0d

Active Member
Apr 20, 2019
1,037
1,233
Wildomar, CA
Brake lights come on based on both deceleration rate and speed. They don't come on just because you are regenerating. Your concern isn't an issue.

Yes, I mean slowing down....which happens with regenerative braking, no? Basically, are you able to let off the gas in a Tesla Model 3 and not have the brake light come on? Maybe I just have this all wrong (I hope). ;)

It could be that the Model 3 driver I saw with the brake light flashing neurotically was just a bad driver. None of it made sense, but I recall my LEAF braking every time I let off the gas (with one-pedal driving and regen braking).
 

Tz00

3 LR AWD
Jan 5, 2019
282
539
NB, Canada
Maybe I just have this all wrong (I hope).

You can regen (and slow down) without the brake light coming on. It needs a certain amount of deceleration before it comes on. At highway speeds, you can get near full regen with no brake lights, since the percentage deceleration rate is low due to the speed. At low speeds, the brake light will come on with little regen.
 

Spacep0d

Active Member
Apr 20, 2019
1,037
1,233
Wildomar, CA
You can regen (and slow down) without the brake light coming on. It needs a certain amount of deceleration before it comes on. At highway speeds, you can get near full regen with no brake lights, since the percentage deceleration rate is low due to the speed. At low speeds, the brake light will come on with little regen.

Excellent. Sounds like a non-issue then. Thanks for clarifying.
 

Magnets!

Member
Jan 9, 2019
661
284
California
I was wondering the same thing when I first got my Tesla. The display in the car shows when your brake lights come on and the algorithm Tesla uses works very well...I looked at it quite closely when I first got the car. Does not keep flashing the brake lights during normal freeway driving despite changes in throttle input. When you see unnecessary brake lights from a Tesla, it is poor driving and not a problem with the car's brake light activation due to regen.
 
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Spacep0d

Active Member
Apr 20, 2019
1,037
1,233
Wildomar, CA
I was wondering the same thing when I first got my Tesla. The display in the car shows when your brake lights come on and the algorithm Tesla uses works very well...I looked at it quite closely when I first got the car. Does not keep flashing the brake lights during normal freeway driving despite changes in throttle input. When you see unnecessary brake lights from a Tesla, it is poor driving and not a problem with the car's brake light activation due to regen.

Whew! Big relief. I saw some bad drivers nervously tapping or riding the brakes and I was thinking, is this part of the car's design and will I look like that in a Tesla?

Thanks for clearing that up. :D
 

dmurphy

Buster: 11/25/14 - 6/20/21. So sorely missed.
Dec 7, 2018
3,654
4,879
New Jersey - Morris County
Ha, no doubt! I tend to do gobs of research before purchases like this. Okay, I do lots of research even if I'm buying an appliance. I like the research phase!

Same here! I showed up here when I was still in the "should I or shouldn't I?" phase. And they haven't gotten rid of me yet.

Welcome aboard! And take the leap into the Model 3 pool with us... the water's fine, I promise. :)
 

pilotSteve

Active Member
Jul 14, 2012
1,486
1,365
Prescott Az
How are you a pilot if you're colorblind? :eek:
"colorblind" is not a binary condition... its reduced red sensitivity (relative to median). Fortunately pilot medical certification requires differentiation between red/green lights for visual navigation (VASI), not a definitive testing of how "bright" the color is.

The darker the red shade is the more it is perceived as almost black, by using a "brighter" red it is much easier to differentiate. I supposed normal color vision would say that then is "too bright" :). Can't please everybody.....
 
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Spacep0d

Active Member
Apr 20, 2019
1,037
1,233
Wildomar, CA
Same here! I showed up here when I was still in the "should I or shouldn't I?" phase. And they haven't gotten rid of me yet.

Welcome aboard! And take the leap into the Model 3 pool with us... the water's fine, I promise. :)

Oh I am jumping in with both feet! My real concern is getting approved for financing (20k down, credit score in mid to high 600s) and charging at home (super challenging situation). I posted another thread about the weird charging situation I'm in.

Thanks much for the warm welcome!
 
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kftnyc

Member
Jan 5, 2020
5
3
Boston
Oh I am jumping in with both feet! My real concern is getting approved for financing (20k down, credit score in mid to high 600s) and charging at home (super challenging situation). I posted another thread about the weird charging situation I'm in.

Thanks much for the warm welcome!
Find a way to join a credit union if you’re not already a member of one. Easier to get auto financing (even decent rates) with marginal credit.

As for home charging, if you can at least get access to an ordinary 120V outlet, you can charge 50-60 miles overnight.
 
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jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
9,600
10,838
Riverside Co. CA
Yes, I mean slowing down....which happens with regenerative braking, no? Basically, are you able to let off the gas in a Tesla Model 3 and not have the brake light come on? Maybe I just have this all wrong (I hope). ;)

It could be that the Model 3 driver I saw with the brake light flashing neurotically was just a bad driver. None of it made sense, but I recall my LEAF braking every time I let off the gas (with one-pedal driving and regen braking).


I have not gotten to the end of the thread, so I apologize if I am repeating something that someone else already said, but yes, you are correct. Many people driving EVs end up having the brakes display a LOT. There is an easy explanation for this in my opinion.

LOTS of people, when they drive, actually "pulse" the accelerator pedal. They "stepppp..... withdraw foot completely....... steppppppp.... withdraw foot completely". This has the effect in an ICE car at highway speeds of gentle acceleration, then coasting, then acceleration, then coasting. This is instead of just pressing lightly on the go pedal to keep that constant speed.

Lots more people do this than they even realize. If they are used to driving a manual transmission "anything", they likely dont do this, but many people cant drive "a stick" or havent in so long they have forgotten how.

Anyway, back to my response... In an EV you CANT "steppppp... then release completely....stepppppp then release completely", without basically brake checking the people behind you. Its acceleration, slow down, acelleration, slow down. Some people dont even try to correct this when in an EV because they think "well I am regen braking so its putting energy back in the battery, so thats good, right?". Its better than completely wasting the energy, but even better is not using the brakes at all, and just keeping your foot pressed on the go pedal enough to go the speed you want to go, and modulate it that way.

OP states he rights motorcycles, so this will come naturally to him, but for many others it doesnt.

Thats why you see people in EVs braking all the time, in situations where it looks "unnatural". There is NO way to set anything in the car to stop that, really. When the car decelerates a specific amount, it will display brakes, because you are slowing down.

In "a stick" you can downshift, not display brakes, and slow down "A lot" but thats not allowed in an EV. If you are slowing down more than regular modulation, it will display the brakes. It likely wont be much of an issue for OP with people behind him, but even then you will likely be displaying brake lights more than you are used to, and the only thing you can do is anticipate more, and not let your foot off the pedal that much unless you need to.
 

Spacep0d

Active Member
Apr 20, 2019
1,037
1,233
Wildomar, CA
I have not gotten to the end of the thread, so I apologize if I am repeating something that someone else already said, but yes, you are correct. Many people driving EVs end up having the brakes display a LOT. There is an easy explanation for this in my opinion.

LOTS of people, when they drive, actually "pulse" the accelerator pedal. They "stepppp..... withdraw foot completely....... steppppppp.... withdraw foot completely". This has the effect in an ICE car at highway speeds of gentle acceleration, then coasting, then acceleration, then coasting. This is instead of just pressing lightly on the go pedal to keep that constant speed.

Lots more people do this than they even realize. If they are used to driving a manual transmission "anything", they likely dont do this, but many people cant drive "a stick" or havent in so long they have forgotten how.

Anyway, back to my response... In an EV you CANT "steppppp... then release completely....stepppppp then release completely", without basically brake checking the people behind you. Its acceleration, slow down, acelleration, slow down. Some people dont even try to correct this when in an EV because they think "well I am regen braking so its putting energy back in the battery, so thats good, right?". Its better than completely wasting the energy, but even better is not using the brakes at all, and just keeping your foot pressed on the go pedal enough to go the speed you want to go, and modulate it that way.

OP states he rights motorcycles, so this will come naturally to him, but for many others it doesnt.

Thats why you see people in EVs braking all the time, in situations where it looks "unnatural". There is NO way to set anything in the car to stop that, really. When the car decelerates a specific amount, it will display brakes, because you are slowing down.

In "a stick" you can downshift, not display brakes, and slow down "A lot" but thats not allowed in an EV. If you are slowing down more than regular modulation, it will display the brakes. It likely wont be much of an issue for OP with people behind him, but even then you will likely be displaying brake lights more than you are used to, and the only thing you can do is anticipate more, and not let your foot off the pedal that much unless you need to.

Fantastic explanation, and I think your theory has a lot of merit. My girlfriend (who cannot drive stick) drives exactly like this and it drives me up a wall. It's go and release and go and release and omg I hate being a passenger with her. When she's nervous or in a rush it gets way worse. I sometimes have to drive just to get relief, but it's amazing how much I see this on the road.

We manual-drivers and motorcycle riders are used to something called 'engine braking' which you're well-aware....letting off the throttle means your natural engine compression will slow you down, especially as one downshifts with rev-matching and slipper clutch.

In the Tesla, I simply kept positive pressure on the gas (like I do for a bike throttle) until such time as I was willing to let the car decelerate on its own, smoothly. When I owned a 2018 LEAF S, I was very cognizant of how much some EV drivers tapped the brakes and made a point not to do that, and after a while in max regen mode I learned my braking distances so it was a very smooth way to bleed off speed without stepping on the brakes or having to re-apply acceleration too often (if at all).

I was just kinda worried that my braking patterns were gonna look crazy but I don't have the on/off habits that some might. On a motorcycle, you don't want to chop the throttle anyway because it's safer to have power going to the rear wheel with a settled chassis, especially as one accelerates through a turn, and chopping throttle before a turn is bad too. Hopefully my EV habits after 20 years of riding motorcycles and driving manual transmission cars will continue to serve me well. Thanks for the explanation!
 

FlyNavy01

Member
Apr 30, 2017
425
896
Jacksonville, FL
"colorblind" is not a binary condition... its reduced red sensitivity (relative to median). Fortunately pilot medical certification requires differentiation between red/green lights for visual navigation (VASI), not a definitive testing of how "bright" the color is.

The darker the red shade is the more it is perceived as almost black, by using a "brighter" red it is much easier to differentiate. I supposed normal color vision would say that then is "too bright" :). Can't please everybody.....
Interesting, now that I think about it, during my annual flight physicals I can't remember the corpsman ever specifically testing my "brightness sensitivity" during the half a dozen eye tests they do.

Fantastic explanation, and I think your theory has a lot of merit. My girlfriend (who cannot drive stick) drives exactly like this and it drives me up a wall. It's go and release and go and release and omg I hate being a passenger with her. When she's nervous or in a rush it gets way worse. I sometimes have to drive just to get relief, but it's amazing how much I see this on the road.

We manual-drivers and motorcycle riders are used to something called 'engine braking' which you're well-aware....letting off the throttle means your natural engine compression will slow you down, especially as one downshifts with rev-matching and slipper clutch.

In the Tesla, I simply kept positive pressure on the gas (like I do for a bike throttle) until such time as I was willing to let the car decelerate on its own, smoothly. When I owned a 2018 LEAF S, I was very cognizant of how much some EV drivers tapped the brakes and made a point not to do that, and after a while in max regen mode I learned my braking distances so it was a very smooth way to bleed off speed without stepping on the brakes or having to re-apply acceleration too often (if at all).

I was just kinda worried that my braking patterns were gonna look crazy but I don't have the on/off habits that some might. On a motorcycle, you don't want to chop the throttle anyway because it's safer to have power going to the rear wheel with a settled chassis, especially as one accelerates through a turn, and chopping throttle before a turn is bad too. Hopefully my EV habits after 20 years of riding motorcycles and driving manual transmission cars will continue to serve me well. Thanks for the explanation!
I just modulate the throttle, i.e. let off enough to get decent regen but not enough to trigger the lights. I find it can be fun trying to perfect it since it's variable depending on your speed.
 
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Chickenlittle

Banned
Sep 10, 2013
2,781
4,943
Virginia
Greetings Teslarati and fans!

I know I'm kinda posting a lot lately because I'm doing a lot of research before ordering my Model 3 in February.

I've noticed that with EVs in general and namely with regenerative braking, that brake light is constantly going on. Even if the car maintains a relatively stable velocity, that brake light keeps coming on (correct me if I'm wrong here).

What I've noticed is that some EV driver brake light patterns makes it look like they're constantly riding the brakes or braking whilst stepping on the gas. To be less charitable, the braking pattern can look a little crazy to me at times, or makes one look like a bad or nervous driver, at least this would be the case in an ICE car.

It's a bizarre new paradigm. In my humble opinion, it's overkill and I would love a way to only have the car show brake lights when I actively press on the brake. That said, the obvious counter to my argument is that one-pedal driving can bring the car to a stop, right? So, in this situation the brake light makes sense, but not so much at freeway speeds where you're simply letting off the gas. With other vehicles, letting off the throttle and engine braking is part of driving, without any brake light drama.

Has anyone found a solution for making the brake light patterns on an EV (Tesla included) look less....neurotic? Having the brake light go on with slight regen vs. full on braking is the same intensity, which I find odd. I understand that Tesla or another manufacturer may have been experimenting with 'levels' of braking intensity with different brake light intensity, which I think makes sense in this new world of one-pedal driving, regen braking, and active braking....to differentiate between how fast one might predict a car to be slowing ahead.

Any thoughts on this? I think this is my primary complaint about EVs right now. To that end, it would affect how I drive so I don't abuse my brake lights and confuse drivers behind me. I'd basically be positive throttle unless there was a good reason not to be, albeit with varying levels of throttle pressure. I would use one-pedal driving and regen braking when it made sense to do so once I knew my braking distances (much how I did with the 2018 LEAF S I owned for a while).

Thanks!
I totally disagree. Brake light is misnamed. Of course touching brake turns on the brake light but it shouldn’t. How many times have you driven behind someone who has their foot resting on the brake pedal. I don’t advocate it but remember my father driving with left foot on brake and right on the accelerator pedal. The brake lights should be renamed deaccelerator lights and only go on when car is slowing down. That’s what is significant issue to the following car. ICE cars should be mandated to change break lights to deaccereration lights.
 

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