Hella shines light on LED lighting

  • 18-Apr-2011 02:07 EDT
Audi A6_low beam_AM0_high rez.tif

Hella's LED system offers a distinctive styling cue and flexible lighting for the 2011 Audi A6.

Hella, a supplier of automotive lighting and technology, is set to provide a full-LED headlamp with adaptive lighting for the 2011 Audi A6, building on earlier deliveries to the Cadillac Escalade and Audi A8.

The news was one subject among several covered in a press conference held by Hella in conjunction with the SAE 2011 World Congress. The lamp will be optional and counts among four headlight systems Hella supplies to Audi for the A6.

Using 64 LEDs, the headlamps automatically create light patterns for city, country, and highway driving scenarios, according to the company. They also provide a broader spectrum of light than traditional fog lamps, reducing glare in fog or heavy rain. Hella’s headlamp-leveling feature adjusts for changes in headlamp angle caused by braking, rapid acceleration, or road conditions to maintain optimal visibility without blinding oncoming traffic, according to the company.

Despite these functional advantages, Steffen Pietzonka, Vice President of Marketing for Hella’s automotive group, pointed out that styling is the current main driver for OEMs selecting an LED headlamp option. “Our LED system clearly contributes to the distinctive styling that differentiates the Audi A6 from other luxury cars,” he said. While styling is important now, he sees a future where fuel economy and efficiency are increasingly important reasons for selecting LED lighting.

Expect more from Hella in the near future. “For model years 2013 through 2016, we have requests to supply LED headlamps to 40 different models,” said Pietzonka. While LED lighting is currently an option for high-end luxury cars, he noted that half of these current requests are in midrange and lower segments. LEDs are expanding beyond luxury cars.

Cost is still an issue. What could drive down costs? “We need standards to reduce individual piece cost of individual LEDs,” Pietzonka said. Such standards could include driver circuits as well as shapes of individual LEDs. Such standards should not unduly cause issues in creating unique, brand-specific shapes for headlamps or other lighting features, he added.

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