LED headlights, currently a technology for pricey luxury cars, are starting to enter the mass market.
By 2020,LED headlights will account for 20 percent of headlights produced worldwide---up from roughly 2 percent this year, according to a market projection by Osram , a leading suppliers of automotive lighting components.
LED taillights and daytime running lights have proved popular with automotive designers, who like to use LEDs to create intricate jewel like looks for their vehicles.
Automakers favor LEDs because they are durable, compact and energy-efficient, but they are still relative expensive. A no-frills halogen headlight might cost automakers $20 or so, while a xenon headlights, although the cost is declining fast.
LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, generate light when electricity is passed through a diode made from a silicon chip. Halogen and xenon lamps are different types of incandescent lights.
Claus Allgeier, Osram’s vice president of solid-state lighting, predicts that over the next three years or so, LEDs will achieve price parity with xenon lights.
‘’This is a huge transition,’’ Allgeier said in a Sept.4 interview. Prices ’’have been changing quite rapidly. Over the last two or three years, there has been a substantial improvement of price and performance.’’
Because they do not generate light from head. LEDs are more energy efficient than halogen bulbs. A halogen headlight might require 65 watts, while an LED headlight might need only 15watts or so.
Toyota has shown some willingness to equip mass-market models---such as the Prius—with LEDs. Others seem likely to follow, given recent efforts by suppliers to design low-cost generic LEDs.
Three years ago, Osram introduced a generic LED unit, a component that looks like a small hockey puck.
Automakers can use it as a relatively inexpensive light source for taillights, headlights, brake lights or other uses.