First part: Technologies linked to light sources
The lighting technologies are moving very fast these last 10 years with Xenon, AFS and now LED.
This strong move will continue for the 10 coming years
In the first part of the study, Hector Fratty presents the future of technologies linked to light sources.
– Light sources/range of the cars.
– Light sources, Xenon and LED.
– Light sources used from 2018.
– Light sources non replaceable.
In the second part to be published in September, the author will present intelligent camera-based technologies with optimized light and adaptive high beam.
1) Light sources will depend of the range of the cars.
Five criteria are leading automotive lighting:
• Performance & technology
• Styling & design
Quality is a must, which is more and more linked to perceived quality: surface aspect, lamp-to-body fitment, etc., rather than to actual technology. So, we do not consider it as far as choice of light source is concerned.
The hierarchical rank of the other four criteria depends on the range of the car.
First range: Green cars.
Toyota IQ, VW UP
– Power consumption is the first criteria.
Low weight and low volume have to be considered
– High lighting performances are not at all required.
Only regulations required values have to be respected.
– Light sources will be mainly LED thanks the lowest consumption.
Possibility to have one LED in low beam plus one LED in high beam Several LED chips will be used when special styling needs.
– Some cars will be equipped with one HB/LB bulb (Bifunction module)
– Design of headlamps has to highlight green/electric cars
After 2018, in Green cars, light sources will be mainly LED with a small part in halogen.
Second range: Low cost cars
Renault Logan, Tata Nano
– Cost is the first criteria
– Consumption and Performances are at the last priority
– Only regulations required values have to be respected
– Lighting will be Halogen because the lowest cost.
– Mainly basic H4 without bezel, without bulb shield
After 2018, in low cost cars, light sources will be mainly Halogen
Third range: Low range cars
A segment (Subcompact): C1, Aygo, Panda.
B segment (Compact): C3, Mini, 207
– Cost and styling design are the first criteria.
– Lighting performances and consumption are far behind.
– Performances matters only for high-spec variants:
° High level version models
° Some “cult” cars like Mini or Fiat 500
– LED will be used for front signal functions for style purpose.
– Car makers will insist on depth reduction.
– Halogen will be the main light source
– For high level version,Xenon, AFS in the next years and then LED will be used.
After 2018, in low range cars, light sources will be mostly halogen with a very small part with LED, partly on front signal functions.
Forth range: Middle range cars
C segment (Lower middle class): Audi A3, BMW 1, 308
D segment (Middle class): Audi A4, Passat, 407/408
– Cost, Styling and Performances are at the same first level.
– Consumption is not prioritised.
– Depth reduction will be a urgent need from car makers.
– Zero fatalities vision help Driver assistance systems.
DA Extra cost will decrease lighting performance Extra cost
– LED will be used for front signal functions for style purpose
– For most of the cars, Halogen will be the main light source.
– High level version of the model will be Xenon then LED equipped.
– Some models will be equipped in totality with LED to save investment costs.
After 2018, in middle range cars, light sources will be mostly halogen with a bigger part for LED, mainly on front signal functions.
Fifth range: High level vehicles
E1 segment (Upper middle class): Audi A6, BMW5
E2 segment (Luxury class): S-Class, BMW 7
– Performance/Technology is the first criteria.
– Performance/Technology strongly driven by Driver Assistance Systems
– Strong competition will exist between Xenon and LED until 2018.
– LED will be used for front signal functions for style purpose
LED technologies will highly be developed after 2018.
After 2018, in high level cars, light sources will be mainly LED included front signal functions with still some halogen light sources.
2) Strong competition between Xenon and LED until 2018
Between 2012 and 2018, strong competition will increase year after year between Xenon sources and LED sources.
LED will have a very small market share until 2015 because:
– Big technical challenges remain with thermals, assembly, optics, condensation, and electronics.
– High cost of the LED headlight system.
– High industrial investments
– Personal workload not adapted enough.
– Lighting LED performances lower than Xenon in hot spot, low and high beam.
– Inertia, Xenon-ECU control electronic already developed with Xenon
– Difficulty to have halogen and LED version with common components; easier to have halogen and xenon.
– Xenon will increase functionality together with camera based driver assistance systems.
LED will have an increasing market share from 2015 because:
– Most of technical challenges will be solved.
– Cost of LED headlight system will be less expensive than Xenon system.
Xenon has no future after 2018 because:
– It is a mature technology used mainly on automotive industry without any possibility of improvement in cost or performances. On the contrary Xenon cost will increase because volume reduction.
– There is no real competition between the 2 unique Xenon suppliers which do not invest and which search to amortize their production tool. At the opposite the LED competition is much tougher with 5 strong actors and several Asian competitors arriving on the market.
– Xenon technology offers little possibility to reduce depth and weight;
– Heavy mechanical parts for AFS.
From 2018, Xenon sources will not exist any more in the design offices of lighting suppliers.
3) After 2018, mainly Halogen and LED will be produced
Until 2018, we will see significant progresses on LED vs Xenon in design and process but the technology will continue to be much more expensive than halogen with the two consequences:
– 1stconsequence: In high cost countries, Halogen will continue to exist with a very slow decrease in market share year after year, focused on low- and middle-range cars.
In low-cost countries, halogen will continue to be the primary source, far ahead of LED.
Worldwide halogen market share will continue to grow until 2018
– 2ndconsequence: On electric cars, middle- and premium-range cars, LED will be the main worldwide technology in 2015 and the unique source after 2018.
– OLED will start with high volume for interior lighting and rear & front signal.
4) After 2018, Non replaceable light sources will be more and more used.
Trend is just starting to non replaceable light sources. Changeability of lamps by the driver gets less possible because of:
– Needs of room and mainly depth
– Pedestrian protection
– Aerodynamics with closed front end
– Variable air intake opening
– High reliability of light sources
It is difficult to be sure about the next 10 years’ technological evolution, but primary use of halogen and LED with a diminishing role of Xenon seems the most probable path our industry will follow.
Non replaceable light sources have to be considered in the next years.
And now ?
I am expecting a strong and numerous feedback from you, experts or managers, car makers, suppliers Tier1&2, and universities
I wish we receive a lot of Emails addressed to: [email protected] with your reactions, either positive or negative.
I will share your feedback with Driving Vision News readers before preparing a synthesis to be presented next month.
Through such a debate, we will make a first step to build our DVN automotive lighting community and to promote good lighting and so, improved safety.
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