Starting this autumn, BMW will be the first carmaker worldwide to offer a production vehicle equipped with laser headlights. Available as an optional extra on the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car, the laser headlamps offer a high beam range of up to 600 meters (1,968 feet), doubling the high beam range of the LED headlights offered as standard on the i8.
Furthermore, BMW says the laser headlights are 30 percent more energy efficient than the already highly power-saving LED lights. BMW Laser Light illuminates the road ahead with a significantly higher light intensity without heating up the surrounding area.
The bright light, similar to daylight, is perceived by the human eye as pleasant although its intensity is ten times greater than that of conventional light sources. However, incoming vehicles won’t be blinded by the new headlights, as these include a camera-aided digital high-beam assistant.
Laser diodes are also ten times smaller than conventional light diodes, helping save space and weight altogether. BMW says the size of the reflector surface can be reduced by a factor of up to ten vs. LED light. On the i8, the height of the reflector has now been reduced from the previous 90mm (3.54in) to less than 30mm (1.18in).
Following its debut on the i8, the laser light technology will be applied to further BMW models. Another carmaker that is experimenting with laser light technology is Audi, which recently unveiled the Sport Quattro Laserlight Concept.
By Dan Mihalascu