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Monday, 16 November 2009
18 months ago I presented a lecture at DELRIS about my vision on lighting in the next 10 years. I explained that in 2018, LED headlamps will overtake Xenon.
I was overwhelmed by reactions of experts explaining me why it was impossible to have better light at lower cost with LEDs than Xenon before 2020-2025.

We have been witness of big progresses these last 18 months on LED technology in Europe and my November visit to the 3 Japanese lighting suppliers confirmed this progress. In view of what I have seen recently, I have to revise my earlier estimate: I think we will see LED headlamps outperforming Xenon between 2015 and 2018.

It’s entirely possible the high-performance LED headlamps of 2015 won’t look anything like the units on the Audi R8, but I think styling appearance will still be a major differentiation between LED and conventional headlamps.
So…what do we do between now and then? How do we get from here to there? Two things are clear : Xenon has a limited timeframe in which to progress; it seems unlikely there will be much impetus for major breakthroughs in Xenon technology once LEDs have surpassed it; it is difficult to imagine much change in Xenon headlamp system after 2018. With that in mind, we urgently must increase the take rate of Xenon headlamps, not in the next years but in the next months, to prime the market for rapid uptake of new LED headlamps.

How can this be done?
By decreasing the cost and price of Xenon headlamps. The 25W system is a possible avenue for cost and price reduction, as is elimination of the mandatory cleaning system. Offering Xenon headlamps as a standalone option rather than exclusively as part of an expensive option package is a good strategy, too, in conjunction with stepped-up communication to increase driver awareness of the real and large safety benefits of Xenon headlamps. The November ADAC tests report which we detail hereafter confirms the big benefit of Xenon light but this strong benefit is not clearly known by the drivers.

I plan a workshop, in Paris on this subject, organized during Q1 2010, between experts from car makers, lighting suppliers Tier 1 and 2, EU administration, regulation administration. I think such an exchange could bring a lot to the lighting community. There are less than 10 years left to amortize the high investments which have been launched, are being launched or will be launched. Full speed ahead!
Sincerely yours


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