EV Warning Lights Explained

A guide explaining the meaning of electric vehicle (EV) specific warning lights and the actions you should take when seeing them on your dashboard.

Last updated: Jun 14, 2024 4 min read

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Summary

There are a number of warning lights that are specific to EVs. It’s important you know what they signal and the urgency with which you need to act.

What happens when a warning light comes on in my EV?

While you should never ignore a warning light, not all are negative. Some are simply there to let you know that things are working as they should, but others indicate significant faults that should be looked at immediately.

What do the warning light colours mean?

EV warning lights will appear in one of three colours on your dashboard, following the traffic light colour system:

  • Green – the system is active and working as expected

  • Yellow – there’s something amiss with the system which isn’t critical but should be checked

  • Red – there’s a serious fault and you should seek assistance immediately and stop driving as soon as possible

EV dashboard warning lights and their meaning

Ready to drive

Showing the outline of a car and an arrow pointing forwards and backwards, this green-glowing light indicates that the EV is ready to drive. Electric cars are quieter than ICE cars as they don’t have an engine, so this symbol helps you check that the car is on.


Eco mode

A green label with the word ‘ECO’ displayed on it, the eco mode warning light lets you know that the EV is adjusting its power output to extend your range, meaning you’ll get more miles out of your battery.


General fault

The general fault warning light is red and signals to you that there is at least one serious fault with your EV. If this light is on, you should take your electric car to a garage as soon as you can.


Limited power

Displaying a yellow tortoise symbol, the limited power warning light will coincide with a speed reduction. You should seek assistance from a trusted garage to identify the problem and get it fixed, as it may be related to an electrical fault or issues with the battery temperature.


Low battery

The low battery warning light is a simple yellow illustration of a charging station with a 2-pin connector and cable which comes on when the EV is at around 10% charge. When the battery drops to 5%, this light starts flashing to warn you that the battery will soon run out of charge.


Electrical fault

Showing an outline of a car with an exclamation mark overlaid, this warning light alerts you of an electrical system issue in your EV. When it’s showing in yellow, you should take your car to a garage soon. If it appears in red, don’t delay having a professional inspect the EV, as it could shut down or reduce power.


12V battery charge

EVs and ICE cars use a 12V battery to start their electric motors. If you see the red 12V battery charge warning light on your dashboard, a battery symbol with a lightning bolt over the top, your smaller battery is low on charge.


Pedestrian alert

A white warning light showing a person on the road. The pedestrian alert is available in EVs and ICE cars with detection systems. Assuming you haven’t already spotted them, brake immediately when you see this light on your dashboard to prevent an accident from happening.

Auto-glide control indicator

The auto-glide warning light centres the letters ACG in a green circle which lets you know that it’s reducing deceleration to let you coast in your EV. It reduces energy consumption and enhances range.

External sound system issue

This warning light consists of a yellow car and speaker symbol, informing you that the noisemaker in your EV isn’t working. EVs are much quieter than ICE cars, so they emit an artificial sound to increase safety and alert pedestrians and other road users of their presence.

Regenerative brake system warning indicator

Electric cars also have mechanical brakes, consisting of brake pads and discs, and an electronically controlled one. Showing on your dashboard in either yellow or red with the letter RBS in a circle, this warning light points to a fault with the regenerative braking system. If you see this, you should take your car to the garage as soon as this light appears, especially if it’s red.