DVN regularly provides a platform for experts’ thoughts and perspectives on automotive lighting. This week, we present a paper from former Valeo Lighting R&D chief Jean-Paul Charret, who presents his vision on the future of LEDs for headlighting. DVN has a growing portfolio of workshops and congresses about LED systems and their future in front lighting; Charret’s paper now summarises a part of these discussions with some personal additions. He also explains very well how the speed of LED introduction will depend on how fast five hurdles will be overcome. LED system cost is the first obstacle, but not the only one, and Charret discusses four more: thermics, design complexity, lack of standardisation, and the fast evolution of technology. We at DVN strongly support his opinions and we think the market penetration of LEDs will grow fast—maybe faster than expected.
But this does not mean other competing technologies will decline faster than expected. 25w and 35w HID systems are still state of the art in terms of quantity of light, light distribution, and corresponding market price. LEDs can compete in performance with HID, as demonstrated on the A7 and CLS, for example, but the cost is very high because high LED flux and styling differentiation are needed. Halogen lights will still come on new cars for many years due to their low cost, especially on basic models and in developing countries, but their high power consumption and their lack of styling differentiation ability are a great drawback in today’s market constraints. As LED roadblocks are knocked aside by the evolving state of technology and technique, we can look forward to the day when halogen headlamps are like plain tungsten headlamps today: theoretically still usable in accord with the regulations, but practically unknown in any but antique cars.
DVN Editor in Chief