The European Union is reportedly recognizing Audi’s LED headlights as an energy efficient technology that can help cars reduce fuel consumption and, as a result, carbon emissions.
According to a press release from Audi (media credentials required), LED headlights can achieve this greater fuel efficiency because they use less power– a little more than half what traditional halogen lights on low beam setting would use. The EU Commission found in its studies of the technology that LED headlight-equipped vehicles emit 1.61 fewer grams of carbon dioxide per mile than cars equipped with halogen lights only. What kind of fuel efficiency increase that equates to, exactly, was not spelled out in the release.
Since first introducing LED headlights on 2004 on the A8 W12 sedan and then rolling the technology into new models from 2008 onward, Audi’s idea has caught on with other manufacturers. In recent memory, we’ve had no fewer than five test cars ranging from a GMC Acadia to a Lexus LS460 F-SPORT that featured at least LED daytime running lamps (DRLs) as part of the headlight design. We have to wonder what kind of fuel savings a vehicle like the GMC Acadia– which, like all General Motors vehicles, would have been quipped with DRLs with or without LEDs,– might be seeing from using LED DRLs instead of halogen DRLs. But darned if we have the resources to commission a government study on such a thing.
Audi’s press release follows below:
EU validates Audi LED technology as eco-innovation
- LED headlights recognized as energy-efficient technology
- Audi is already equipping five model series with LED technology
LED headlights from Audi verifiably improve fuel economy. That is why the European Commission is now certifying this technology.
Lighting systems have a tremendous effect on an automobile’s fuel economy. Conventional halogen units, for example, consume over 135 watts of power in their low-beam headlight mode. By comparison, LED headlights from Audi operate with significantly better energy efficiency – the low-beam lights only consume around 80 watts.
The EU Commission has measured the fuel savings achieved by LED headlights from Audi – testing the low-beam headlights, high-beam headlights and license plate light in dynamometer testing. In the ten NEDC cycles that the Audi A6 ran through, CO2 savings were found to be over one gram per km (1.61 g/mile). As a result, the EU Commission has officially identified the LED headlights as an innovative technology for reducing CO2 emissions. Audi is the first car manufacturer to be certified for this technology.
LED daytime running lights made their debut in the Audi A8 W12 back in 2004. Then, in 2008, the R8 sports car became the world’s first car to feature full-LED headlights. Today, this high-end lighting system is available in five model series: the R8, A8, A6, A7 Sportback and A3.
Audi designs the LED headlights very differently for different models. On the A8, for example, 76 light-emitting diodes are used per unit. On the Audi A3, 19 LEDs operate in each headlight to generate the low-beam and high-beam lights; they are supplemented by a module for the all-weather and cornering lights as well as a light guide for the daytime running lights, side lights and turn signals. Besides improving energy efficiency, LED headlights also offer safety and comfort benefits. With a color temperature of around 5,500 Kelvin, their light resembles daylight and hardly causes any eye fatigue. The LEDs are maintenance-free and designed to last the life of the car.