Future Is Bright For Led Headlights

10/4/2008

Headlights made from light-emitting diodes will surpass xenon high-intensity discharge applications by 2014 and eventually will supplant traditional halogen bulbs as the system

of choice in new vehicles, predicts Wolfgang Huhn, general manager of lighting technology for Volkswagen AG’s Audi arm. He made the assertion during a panel discussion this week at the Convergence 2008 automotive electronics conference in Detroit.
LEDs, which are rapidly gaining ground in rear lighting systems and select front functions, are just now being adopted for full headlight systems. The first two applications were introduced this year as options on the Audi R8 supercar and Cadillac Escalade SUV.

Huhn points to lower energy use, more precise light patterns and greater packaging flexibility of LED systems as drivers for the technology’s growth. Standard halogen bulbs use only 4% of electrical energy as light, wasting the rest as heat; LEDs render 30% of their energy as light. Thus a midsize car with traditional bulbs may use 618 watts of power, while the same size vehicle with full-LED lighting would consume only 168 watts. Huhn says the higher efficiency can translate into 2% greater fuel economy for the vehicle—and make them essential for next-generation electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Posted courtesy of Hampton AutoBeat LLC, Autotech Daily, 10/24/2008.

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