Here’s a prediction: by the end of the decade, most new cars will use LEDs. Halogen and xenon bulbs will be a thing of the past. This change will occur because LEDs reduce fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.

An engine’s alternator provides the electricity for the lights of a car. The more electricity the alternator has to supply, the harder the engine has to work.

This means fuel consumption and emissions increase when a car’s lights are on. A car using low-beam headlights, licence-plate lights and tail lights needs about 200 watts of power for conventional bulbs. LEDs use far less wattage.

LEDs and Audi

Aware of this, Audi has replaced the daytime running lights (DRLs) of its cars with LEDs. These require just 15 watts of electricity.

In 2008, the combined fuel saving of Audi cars with LED DRLs was 10 million litres. The reduction in carbon emissions was 25,000 tonnes.

LED headlights

With savings such as these, it makes sense to replace all of a car’s lighting with LEDs. Lighting manufacturers have been working on this for some while.

The main problem has been headlights. The light output has to meet strict standards. But despite the difficulties, car headlights with LEDs became available in 2009. In the same year, Audi added LED headlights to its R8 V10 supercar.

LEDs can make motoring safer

Car engineers at Audi are now working on “intelligent” LED headlights. The LEDs will adjust their brightness according to speed, weather conditions and the distance between vehicles.

For example, electronics within a car will calculate the distance to an oncoming vehicle. As the vehicle approaches, the LEDs in the headlights will become less bright. This prevents temporary blinding of the driver.

So if you buy a new car in the future, check the specs. Don’t be surprised to see LEDs featuring in them.

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