LED usage predicted to rise

A new report by research firm McKinsey & Company predicts a sharp increase in the use of light emitting diode or “LED” technology within the automobile industry by the end of the decade. 

In 2011, LEDs made up 12% of all automotive lighting systems, McKinsey & Co. noted, with the firm expecting to see a spike of 22 percentage points by 2020 – increasing LED share to 34% of the overall automotive lighting market; a market worth some $18.1 billion annually, the firm said.

David Hulick, marketing director for OSRAM, which makes LED lighting systems, added that this growth forecast is based on higher adoption rates for LED headlights and daytime running light systems by automakers during the next eight years.

He noted that three major trends are driving the LED adoption rate upward:

  • Styling and aesthetics – New LED systems empower designers with a more flexible palette, enabling new shapes, colors and mounting configurations that were not possible until recently.
  • Functionality and safety – LEDs offer solutions for better vision and reduced glare, and operate at a color temperature that is close to natural sunlight.
  • Energy savings – LEDs use significantly less energy than standard halogens.

Hulick pointed out that OSRAM's joule LED headlight package, for instance, utilizes 14 watts of electricity compared with 65 watts for a conventional bulb.

"Until recently, LEDs were most common in center high mounted stop lamps and taillights, with headlights having been a novelty feature in very high-end vehicles," he added. "Now the industry is seeing growth in daytime running lights and headlight applications." 

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