Yes. By law brakes must come on when the regen deceleration rate meets a certain threshold. L in the Gen 1 cars did not meet this threshold, so no brake lights. Gen 2 and the Bolt can regen more aggressively, hence the brake lights come on as needed.Are brake lights tied to an accelerometer somehow?
As far as feeling better, that's all it is, a feeling. You aren't any safer. Most people get rear-ended while stopped or stopping with brake lights on.