New, Expensive Trends in Automotive Lighting
Change is a constant and on vehicles there are always new advances. One rapidly advancing area is in automotive lighting with the biggest change being a move away from filament bulbs. This technology has illuminated every corner and interior of cars since cars were invented (with the brief use of gas lamps in the very early years).
The latest technology is xenon headlamps and LED lamps. Many new vehicles, especially in the high-end market sport much of this technology.
Have You Noticed How Well Lit New Cars Are?
Compare this to a 50-year-old VW Beatle with 6 Volt electrical system. You could barely see the VW’s taillights and the road illumination by the headlamps was one 10th of what xenon and LEDs provide. There are many benefits to these new lighting technologies: they are much brighter, use far less electricity, and in the case of LED lights switch on instantly which, when being used in brake lights, provide a significant safety advantage.
LED and xenon lamps are much more durable than their filament predecessors however they cost substantially more to replace. Xenon bulbs can cost over $200 while many traditional headlamp bulbs cost in the $10 to $20 range. LED light assemblies will rarely need replacement because they have so many individual LEDs however they will be very expensive.
Perhaps as they become more common, less expensive options like re-manufactured units or repairs may become available. In spite of these extra costs overall the advantages of better illumination, lower power consumption and increased longevity are very worthwhile.