At the DVN Workshop last month near Detroit, there were four round-table panel discussions orbitally centred round the theme of the workshop.
Here we offer you a précis of the fourth discussion. The rubric was Energy Savings with LEDs, chaired by AL’s Kamislav Fadel. Panelists included Dennis Novack from Chrysler, Michael Godwin from Osram, Tony Wang from Honda, David Hines from NHTSA, Michael Pickoltz from Magwerksled, Leo Metzemaekers from Philips, Rainer Neumann from Visteon, and Masaru Sasaki from Koito.
The discussion got under way with Fadel presenting graphical representations of the various strengths and relative merits of various automotive lighting technologies. LEDs excel in power savings, but at very high cost. Incandescent and halogen lights, by contrast, are very inexpensive but consume a great deal of power. HID systems, 25- and 35-watt, are in between on cost and power and dominant in performance.
Flux on the road/Power consumption
Yellow: LED premium, Blue: Xenon 25/35 w, Green: affordable LED, Red: Halogen
But the picture is a great deal more nuanced than just those three data points suggest. LEDs are rapidly gaining on HID systems’ performance levels, and both power consumption and costs are coming down as LED system efficacy and efficiency carry on increasing. So the question of “energy savings” is multidimensional, not simple, and needs more elucidation: Energy savings versus…what, exactly? Are we holding flux-in-beam constant as we discuss energy savings of an LED system versus an HID or halogen system? Or are we disregarding actual performance and looking only at legal performance, simply striving for a system compliant with regulations without regard to relative performance benefits or deficits of one technology over another? The significance of this question is doubled if we look at safety factors