News Article

Production Cadillac Sports Full LED Headlamp

Next summer, the cavernous Cadillac Escalade Platinum will become the first series production sports utility vehicle to feature a full LED headlamp.

Automotive lighting specialist Hella has developed a full LED headlamp for the Cadillac Escalade Platinum.

When series production begins in summer 2008, the car will become the first mass-produced sports utility vehicle (SUV) to be fitted with full solid-state forward lighting.

The SUV s low beam features five white LED units stacked vertically (see photo). These five units also provide the daytime running lamp function, which works by simply dimming the LED output.

The high beam, sometimes also known as the "full" beam, features two optical elements and a ventilator for active cooling of the new multi-chip white LEDs that are used in both the low and high beam functions.

Germany-based Hella has also designed amber LEDs into the SUV. Seven standard LEDs are arranged vertically to provide the car s side marker light.

With LED headlamps already permitted under US regulations, and similar approval expected in Europe next year, makers of high-brightness white LEDs are finally starting to get a foothold in automotive applications.

Audi and Lexus are the two other car makers to have launched production vehicles with LED headlamps thus far (see related stories).

Hella did not specify which of the major LED makers is set to supply the chips that will feature in the Cadillac, although Philips Lumileds and Osram Opto Semiconductors are the most likely candidates.

Hella used Lumileds chips in the daytime running lamp of the Audi A8 "“ the first LED-based forward-lighting function to feature on a production series car "“ while Automotive Lighting used both Osram s TopLEDs and Luxeon chips from Lumileds in the Audi R8 sports car.

Although the benefits of using LED technology are usually regarded as cutting fuel consumption through more efficient lighting, Hella is stressing the positive effect that solid-state devices will have on the driving experience:

"With a color temperature of around 5500 K, the white LEDs are considerably closer to daylight (ca. 6000 K) than xenon light (ca. 4000 K)."

"This comes close to what people are used to seeing [during the day]," explained the firm. "The driver does not tire so quickly and is more relaxed."

There are also important advantages for the car manufacturers, who can use the flexibility of LEDs and optics to introduce different styling effects and to help show off the car s brand more effectively.

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