Not all countries will adopt measures like stopping their nuclear power stations as Germany has pledged to do, but most nations want to drastically reduce their energy consumption. Automotive lighting has to take its share in this research of energy savings.
At the last DVN workshop held on May 4-5 2011, the attendees’ consensus concerning the likely market share for filament lamps in automotive applications in 2020 was 65% in front lighting and 45% in rear. That reflects the disappointing market penetration of HID on the one hand, and the accelerating but still slow adoption of LED on the other. And so one of the conclusion of our Round Table on light sources was to see about using regulations to ban or decrease the use of high-wattage halogen bulbs.
Why? Because in low beam, for the same lighting performance, halogens use more than double the power of LEDs: 130w vs. 50w today, and certainly less than 50w by 2020. In DRL applications, LEDs use less than 10w vs 25w to130w for halogen.
On average, 0.15l/100 km per vehicle could be saved which means saving 300 litres of fuel over the 200,000 km life of every car, not to mention the savings on trucks and coaches.
LED lighting delivers energy savings with a positive environmental impact. With LEDs, drivers can reduce costs and not have to be concerned about proper disposal because the lights can be recycled. Given the extremely long service life of LEDs — over 10 times longer than most incandescents — recycling won’t need to happen very often. And it takes a lot more than accidentally dropping or hitting a LED light to render it inoperable. Moreover, good LED lights work better. It has been graphically and empirically shown that for any given intensity, compared with halogen light the spectral distribution of LED headlamps means better seeing for drivers. And LED brake lights give a definite safety benefit due to their instantaneous rise to full intensity.
No wonder TU-Vienna’s Professor Ferdinand Porsche Prize, for people whose inventions positively affect sustainable development of the automobile, was given for 2011 to Wolfgang Huhn of Audi and Kanislav Fadel of AL for their pionneering approach in LED Headlamps (see in-depth report here in DVN).
The automotive lighting community has an opportunity here for everyone to benefit. We must take an active role in gathering arguments and justifications to reduce or ban the use of filament lamps on vehicles. LED and/or Xenon should be a must to reduce energy consumption and pollution and improve safety performance. And it will be good for business, too!
DVN General Editor