Valeo presented a number of major innovations at the Paris Motor Show recently. Ian Henry spoke with Patrick Sega, Transversal Projects Director for Group R&D at Valeo about some of these innovations. Here, we report on Valeo’s new BiLED full LED headlamps which had their European launch in Paris.

The BiLED system means that both low and high beams can be produced by a single module.  Two multichip LEDS are used for low beam, with power consumption at just 26W; a third LED is activated for high beam.  The BiLED system has been installed on the Lincoln MKZ in the USA.

IH: What is your view of the LED lighting segment and how it will develop in the near term?

PS: We now have a situation where here in Europe day-time running lights (DRLs) are mandatory and these are 100% LED; this follows on from the success of LEDs for most rear light and some side or indicator light applications.

IH: What about the main headlamp assembly and their use of LEDs?

PS: Most cars will go to full LED, including the main headlamp assembly. A proportion of cars will remain with halogen for cost reasons, but we now expect LEDs to cut into the market share currently held by Xenon.

IH: How quickly and how far will this happen?

PS: I can imagine a situation where Xenon will actually have gone entirely or have just a marginal share within 10 years. It would not surprise me if LEDs achieved an 80% share of the front lighting market in the long run.

IH: That is quite a rapid rate of change. Why is this going to happen and what are the advantages of LEDs which could make this happen so quickly?

PS: There are many advantages of LEDs. They allow the vehicle companies plenty of styling possibilities, making their cars clearly identifiable through the light patterns or arrangements of the LEDs. This helps them with their branding as well.

On the other hand LEDs require less electric power from the battery as their efficiency is much higher, and they produce a much better quality of light, with a longer lifetime.

IH: Will the switch to LEDs on this scale be a worldwide phenomenon or just confined to Europe?

PS: Ultimately it will be worldwide, because of the costs having come down so much in recent times.

IH: How do LEDs compare to halogen or Xenon in terms of efficiency?

PS: LEDs are twice as efficient as Xenon and five times as efficient as halogen. For example, to get the same amount of light, we expect that by 2015 LEDs will consume just 12W in low beam mode; halogen will bulbs will need 65W.

IH: Does this have any impact in terms of CO2 emissions for example?

PS: Certainly. We think that a vehicle using LEDs rather traditional bulbs for all lights and turn signals could achieve a saving of as much as 2.8 grammes of CO2 per km.

IH: You have showed the new BiLED light system at the Paris Motor Show: which vehicles is this on?

PS: The first applications are on the new Ford Mondeo and Seat Leon.

IH: And finally, what about organic LEDs (OLEDs) – when can we expect to see these in use?

PS: This technology is not ready yet; there is still a long way to go in the development process.  I wouldn’t think we would see OLEDs in significant use for another 10 years.