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Average performance ratings for LED headlights in most vehicles, finds IIHS study

Average performance ratings for LED headlights in most vehicles, finds IIHS study

By BizLED Bureau

April 1, 2016: As per the first LED headlight ratings carried out by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), LED headlights found in 31 varying medium car models were first evaluated and it was seen that majority of them delivered a comparatively average performance.

Current developments in headlight technology make it an ideal time to focus on the matter. In majority of the vehicles, LED lamps or high-intensity discharge (HID) have substitutes halogen ones. Curve-adaptive headlights, which rotate as per steering input, are now becoming more common.

READ ALSO: Soon cars will communicate with LED headlights

Focus on abundant illumination

The study has shown benefits for the fresh headlight types. However, they don’t assure good performance. The headlight rating system doesn’t support a particular lighting technology, but give credits to those systems that produce abundant illumination without unnecessary glare for drivers of approaching vehicles.

Out of the 31 car models evaluated, the low and high beam headlights of Toyota Prius v’s LED projector was the only one to receive good ratings. The top available headlights on 11 cars received a satisfactory rating, while 9 only reached a minor rating. Ten of the car models can’t be procured with anything besides poor-rated headlights. The price tag of a vehicle is no assurance of decent headlights. Majority of the poor-rated headlights were found in expensive vehicles.

Only a single good rating out of 82

Vehicles might be equipped with diverse headlights. Hence, there are 82 headlight ratings in total for 2016 car models although there are 31 vehicles only. IIHS wants to rate each and every headlight grouping as it becomes accessible from dealers.

The Prius v managed to earn a good rating when equipped with high-beam assis and LED lights.  In order to obtain these headlights, customers must buy the advanced technology package, which is available only on the maximum trim level. When equipped with normal halogen lights and without high-beam help, the Prius v earned a mediocre rating.

Out of the 44 headlight systems that earned a poor rating, the halogen lights of the BMW 3 series scored the lowest rating. A better alternative for the same car would be an LED curve-adaptive system that has high-beam assist, a grouping that rates average.

Curve-adaptive systems don’t necessarily initiate better ratings. Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Cadillac ATS and Kia Optima earned poor ratings even when they come with adaptive high and low beams.

For instance, the Optima has a big problem in its glare. Its curve-adaptive system offer better visibility than its non-adaptive lights, but generates unnecessary glare for approaching vehicles.

One of the ideal headlight systems surveyed has none of the innovative technology. The fundamental halogen lights on the Honda Accord 4-door earned a satisfactory rating, while an LED system containing high-beam assist obtainable on the Accord earned only a subsidiary rating.

Average performance ratings for LED headlights in most vehicles, finds IIHS study

LEDinside breaks down LED headlight performance

Among the 24 vehicles providing LED headlights tested, almost 45.83% earned secondary rating, closely followed by 28.17% that were given a satisfactory rating. LEDs headlights surpassed halogen lights, however ratings revealed that HID headlights delivered somewhat more consistent performance. This indicates that LED headlight performance is somewhat average, and has opportunity for further improvement.

In common, Japanese car brands LED headlights got better ratings as compared to German luxury car brands. So how does LED lighting technology compare to conventional lighting? On the whole, LED headlights did better than halogen headlights, which got the worst ratings among the 3 headlight technologies combined. Among the 35 halogen headlights evaluated around 85.17% got a poor rating, 4 headlights got marginal rating and only 1 headlight choice from 2016 Subaru Outback passed with satisfactory rating.

However, when compared to HID headlight technology, LEDs lagged behind by a small margin. Among the 24 HID headlights evaluated, 33.33% of them got satisfactory ratings, while another third of the headlights got poor ratings.

READ ALSO: It’s so easy to design LED car headlights with CFD tools

The capability to see the road ahead, together with any sort of obstacles, is a clear necessity for drivers, stated IIHS. Nevertheless, the standards for headlights laid down by the government, based on laboratory tests, permit huge disparity in the quantity of illumination that headlights give in real on-road driving.

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