Although each has its advantages, Xenon, LED and halogen lighting technologies will coexist in the auto market in the future, according to Dominiek Plancke, Philips Automotive Lighting CEO.
First developed by Philips in the mid-1980s, Xenon bulbs use the high intensity discharges to produce light by means of an arc between electrodes. Their power consumption is significantly lower than traditional halogen bulbs. Today more than 10 million cars on the roads worldwide are equipped with Xenon bulbs. In China alone, Philips sold more than 1 million of the bulbs in 2008, Plancke told Automotive News China in an interview last week in Shanghai.
Xenon bulbs are now mainly used in premium and luxury brand vehicles such as Audi and BMW cars. Philips expects to move downscale with a new generation of Xenon bulbs that will bring down the total ownership costs for car drivers, according to Plancke.
“We are working with set makers and car makers to come up with a solution that is going to bring a big breakthrough in the cost of the total system solution,” he says. Automotive lamp set makers and carmakers have already expressed “a huge amount of interest” in his company’s new Xenon products, says Plancke. He declines to provide further details on the new Xenon lighting products. In addition to Xenon bulbs, Plancke believes other types of bulbs such as LED and halogen bulbs will also have their places in the market.
“The future is going to be a mixture of different technologies,” he says. In 2005, Philips acquired 100% interest in Lumileds,and the integration of Lumileds into the automotive lighting business group of Philips Lighting is due to be completed in the middle of this year, Plancke says. The acquisition will enable his company to better explore emerging markets such as China for LED products, he adds.
The rise of Xenon and LED technologies on the automotive lighting market does not mean halogen bulbs will have no future, according to Plancke. Due to their low prices, halogen bulbs are still in strong demand in emerging markets, he adds