Why LED Lights May Become Standard Equipment on Most Cars

Source: Micah Wright/Autos Cheat Sheet
Source: Micah Wright/Autos Cheat Sheet

It’s pretty amazing to think about how far we have come technologically in the last decade alone. From iPhones to Fiber Optics, our lives are constantly being enhanced by the use of man-made electronics. Even something as simple as a light bulb has undergone dramatic changes over the last ten years, as incandescent bulbs have slowly begun to fade under the brilliance of the almighty LED’s rays.

What was once considered excessively expensive and utterly unnecessary is now increasingly commonplace, and it seems like everything from a Lexus to a Ford Flex are rocking these energy efficient bulbs. As LED prices have gone down in recent years, both their value and availability have skyrocketed, all while constantly increasing in their illumination ranges. A report by the Department of Energy “highlights” these facts, and shows that the failure of current generations of Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) is a very rare occurrence indeed.

So long gone are the days when two or three LED bulbs would burn-out on a car spoiler, and even the simplest single diode bulb lasts considerably longer and burns far brighter than its predecessors from just a few years ago. Everything from our televisions to our street lights are LED illuminated, and from the looks of things, more and more cars are going to be sporting massive LED-filled headlamps as this technology continues to trend.

The days of incandescent auto bulbs are finally set to short-out, and from the looks of things Xenon headlamps and HID bulbs could be riding on their coattails too. As companies like Sylvania continue to come out with fresh advancements, and automakers continue to find ways to incorporate these new designs, the average consumer is discovering that they can get a moderately priced car with cutting-edge lighting that both improves safety and increases stylishness all at the same time.

Source: Super Bright LEDs

A few years back, I was contacted by Sylvania to test out a variety of different LED bulbs that were in the testing phase on my Acura RDX. The car, which was a project feature car for Honda Tuning Magazine, was easily outfitted with Sylvania’s interior bulbs and after some slight tweaking we were able to get them all working properly. Two years later, and these bulbs are still as bright as they were upon installation, and I now have outfitted all three of my cars with these Zevo bulbs.

Track back a few years to 2008 and we find that the New York Times did a piece on how this technology was set to “offer bold possibilities for signaling brands and vehicle personalities.” We’ve already surpassed that stage, with daytime running lights and LED-charged turn signals lighting our way, and even the cops use all LED light on their cars now. What started as a factory option on spoilers for commuter cars like the CB7 Accord eventually morphed into standard LED taillights on the 2000 Cadillac Deville, and once the 2007 Audi R8 came out sporting LEDs as a daytime running light, the trend blew-up.

These little diodes illuminate quickly, are virtually heat-free, last long as hell, and are damn near indestructible. So if they are so great why aren’t all carmakers using them in place of every light in a car? For one LEDs (big ones at least) are still pricier than traditional bulbs, and these extra expenses really start to add up when you are producing thousands of cars a month. There also is the issue with status, as typically higher-end models are the cars that come equipped with LED packages, and dealers want to make an up-sale every chance they get.

So this makes us wonder what the future of lighting could be once the hype surrounding LED bulbs begins to fizzle. It’s hard to imagine something more advanced and compact, but we said that about pagers when they first came out, and that didn’t pan-out too well. As Audi continues to make advancements with its Laser Light high beams, back over at the Cheat Sheet we feel that until this design becomes a reality the price on LED technology is going to continue to fall and eventually automakers will be putting them on all commuter cars. For when a spike in consumer demand for a particular amenity is met with falling product prices and increased quality and reliability, automakers take note and the outlandish suddenly becomes commonplace. Maybe the next evolution will be LED fog-lights that can cut the mist better than anyth— oh wait, it looks like Sylvania just released its LED fog-light system.

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