In a paper published this week, AL Head of Lighting Technology Development and Innovation Michael Hamm describes how it is now possible to combine a huge energy reduction with a huge light efficiency increase in vehicle lighting. He presents two examples. The first shows an LED DRL module, recently in production in Mercedes-Benz cars, which meets UN R87 technical prescriptions with just 2.6 watts’ power consumption, compared to 25w for an incandescent-bulb solution.
The second example, even more compelling, is the new e-Light LED module. This delivers 650 lumens (CIE rating of 3.5 points) with an energy consumption of 14w per headlamp. In comparison, one halogen headlamp delivers 400 lumens (CIE rating of 2 points) with an energy consumption of 65w.
It means that LED technology is now able to deliver over 50% more light from 75% less energy; expressed differently, we now move from 6 Lm/w with halogen to more than 45Lm/w with the e-Light module.
It heralds an all-points competitor for halogen, even though the LED cost is still much higher. Surely the LED headlamp will be never match the low price of a halogen unit. But if we consider the total cost of ownership over the life of the vehicle, integrating fuel reduction, service cost, lower amps on the wires, and others, the cost differential is markedly less severe. Now we can surely see that LEDs will eventually replace halogen lights. The question is not “if”, but “when”. Regulatory action could help; a ban on halogen lights on energy-waste grounds might be politically possible in ten to fifteen years.
The production of e-Light module will start in 2013.
Just a few years ago we couldn’t even dream of such giant improvements!
Kudos to all the lighting players who are working so hard to achieve these tremendous strides forward.
DVN General editor