Xenon headlights give better safety performance than halogen lights; it’s been demonstrated repeatedly. Watch next week for our interview with Lex Krzyzanowsky, chairman of LightSightSafety, an initiative to promote Xenon headlights. The first volume production started in 1993 after a decade of research and development.
Since then, two main light source makers — Philips and Osram — have shared the main market stake worldwide with production capacities much higher than current market needs. In spite of high performance and great contribution to driving safety, Xenon still has a weak penetration rate, less than 10% in C and D segments except in Germany where Xenon lights are more popular.
The main reason is the high cost of a Xenon headlamp system due not only to the ballast, bulb, and high sales markup of 200% to 300%, but also due to the lens cleaning and automatic aim-leveling systems mandatory with Xenon lights under ECE Regulation 48. Car buyers are hesitating to buy a better light with Xenon system options starting at around €700 .
On the other hand, driving with halogen light is far from satisfying under bad weather conditions .
For this reason, some lighting experts have recently started working to produce low cost Xenon systems by reducing the wattage of the bulb to 25W versus 35W (and a light flux 2,000Lm instead 3,200Lm). Because ECE R48 requires lens cleaning and auto-levelling systems for headlamps with objective low beam luminous flux of more than 2,000Lm, the proposed light source could be used without these systems. An optimised 25w Xenon bulb could give a much more effective headlight performance with acceptable cost and lower energy consumption. After better establishing cost reductions and lighting performance, experts will confirm the potential of this Xenon 25W light source.