Around ten years ago, Renault were an innovative company at the level of the Premium OEMs. Their lighting equipment was a benchmark, with HID headlamps and LED rear lamps on high-volume models. But then, probably in accord with a company-wide low cost strategy and various changes of management, lighting innovation stagnated for many long years. We saw no real innovation from Renault. Now we are once again seeing innovative lighting on Renaults! The arrival of Mathieu Lips three years ago, Stefano Bolis last year and the new organisation overall are probably the main reasons.
In July I visited Renault’s lighting department at the Technocentre at Guyancourt. I discovered some features showing this strategic change in lighting. There’s now, as a matter of philosophy, a strong link between styling and engineering—read more about it in this week’s interview—in line with what I have seen at Audi.
Secondly, there’s been serious investment in simulation tools with a dedicated team working on optics, thermal management, and styling simulation. I have “driven” simulations of the different lighting configurations, and found the simulator impressively very close to reality. It was quite wonderful to see the comparison between a current light and the benchmark Audi A7. I am also pleased to have been authorised to present here LED prototypes which show the huge possibilities of LED on styling differentiation. In parallel, they presented the improvement of lighting performance. It is now possible for a generalist to design LED headlamps and we can expect to see middle and low range cars equipped with LED. After this visit, I can predict without big risk to see soon a new Renault model equipped with LED headlamps soon.
Also this week it is my pleasure to release our DVN report on materials and processes in the automotive lighting industry. This report is primarily done by one of our community’s greatest material experts; Thu Le is former manager of materials at Valeo Sylvania. Le assembled the bulk of the report with the help of several other good experts; we look forward to your feedback on this report covering current and the future technologies concerning materials and processes.
DVN Editor in Chief