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Chris Bruce2011-09-01 14:21:37

BMW i8 Concept to Be First BMW with Laser-Powered Headlights

BMW i8 Concept to Be First BMW with Laser-Powered Headlights

As efficiency becomes more important in cars and more cars turn to batteries to store their power, it becomes ever more important to optimize all of a car's systems to use as little power as possible while still living up to the expectations people already have in their cars. BMW is taking this problem on by introducing laser-powered headlights that not only produce more light than LEDs or xenon lights but also use a fraction of the power. The first car to have this technology implemented will be the i8 Concept.

Do not get into your mind the idea of two tiny pinpricks of focused light blinding anyone who gets in their way. BMW's system uses laser diodes to emit blue lasers that is diffused over a fluorescent phosphor material into a white light that is projected onto the road. The light is extremely white with higher intensity and brightness even than LED headlights

For comparison of the efficiency gains using lasers, an LED light will produce around 100 lumens of light per watt. Using the same amount of power, a BMW's laser system produces around 170 lumens. That means that lasers are about 60% more efficient. In a car that uses electric power, like the i8 Concept, that means the headlights could be tuned to use fewer watts while producing light equal to the best headlights available and save power in the battery. For a conventional car, the new lights would still mean some fuel savings because there would be less draw from the alternator. 

There is also a significant savings in space by using lasers. The laser diodes are 1/100th the size of even LED lights. In theory this means that the headlights could be made much smaller, but BMW has no plans to change things for the time being because headlights are such an important element in automotive design. 

BMW did not say when it expects to have laser headlights ready for a production vehicle. While on the i8 Concept, it did not say whether laser headlights would be available on the production vehicle next year. 



1 comment

Wow, this car just keeps getting better and better. And more expensive. And more impractical.
01.09.2011 @ 15:37


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