Driving Vision News: Michael, you are one of the most famous worldwide experts on automotive lighting. Could you explain us how you arrived at this position?
Michael Hamm: Thank you. Well, I do not think I am famous. But in a world full with job rotation it seems you are immediately becoming an expert if you stay some longer in one single field of business. I am now more than 10 years responsible for lighting development and innovation at AL. So expert or dino, that is the question.
DVN: Start with LED rear lamps. AL are producing LED rear lamps in many car models and are in a top position in this market. Nevertheless, the LED rear lamps have a relatively low take rate. Do you think it is because the cost or because there is not enough differentiation with bulbs?
M.H.: It depends on the targets of the OEM. Those who just want to minimize efforts will not talk on differentiation, those using LED show much more styling responsibility and want to make attractive cars by transporting image. And now additionally the analyses show that LED rear lamps can save up to 22% of the CO2-emission per statistical kilometre. That might change or even more tighten the point of view of some OEM.
DVN: If we consider the LED DRL, the differentiation with bulb is great with examples of Audi and Porsche and now Mercedes cars. How do you see the future of LED in the DRL functions considering style and energy consumption reduction?
M.H.: DRL is the function used by far the longest time in a car. About 64% of the car’s statistical usage time, DRL is on. So I am sure the emphasis on power consumption and CO2 will eliminate the “old” bulbs in a large range. Predominantly A- and B-segment cars will remain for the next 2 generations in bulb technology. Concerning style there is some interesting movement on the market. Initially demonstrated and executed by two of the premium brand manufacturers, more and more of the other car makers see the potential of giving a brand image at day and night to their cars.