The constant race for innovation comes in its truest form in the auto industry with companies spending millions of dollars in pursuit of that one breakthrough that can redefine the business.
To its credit, BMW may have come to that road with its laser light technology.
Different from the popular LED lights that have become prevalent in the industry, laser lights are being propped as the next evolution in lighting technology, with promises of being safer and more efficient than their LED counterparts.
BMW is tapping into this new technology, which they will use for the first time on the 2015 i8 hybrid sports car, an appropriate choice if there ever was one because of the i8’s own place as its own technologically savant piece.
So why are laser lights safer and more efficient than LEDs? For starters — and this is going to a new level of geekdom, so strap on and try to keep up — laser lights are safer in a sense that they are more focused on what their shining on, which in this case is the road. What this does is reduce the strain caused to oncoming cars, reducing the possibility of angry drivers flipping you the bird as you pass them.
Light strength is another distinct advantage for laser lights, something BMW alludes to in the video above. Compared to light range of standard LEDs, an LED high beam equipped with laser lights is capable of extending that range to an incredible 600 meters (1,970 feet). By comparison, an LED low beam only has a 100-meter (328 feet) range with the high beam at 300 meters (985 feet). Significant stuff right there.
As far as efficiency is concerned, laser lights draw so little energy that they automatically reduce a car’s energy consumption. Laser lights also have smaller lighting diodes, 100 times smaller than the cells used in LEDs, giving BMW designers more flexibility and leeway in designing their lights setup, specifically the ones you’ll find on the i8.
Unfortunately, laser lights don’t come standard on the i8; instead, BMW is offering them as an option for the high-beam mode on the hybrid sports car.
Still and all, its a technology that we’re going to see and hear about in the coming years. That’s what happens when you’re dealing with something that has the potential to be a technological evolution.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 BMW i8
The production-version BMW i8 made its world debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show after a series of concept cars were revealed in the previous years.
The i8 is powered by a hybrid powertrain that combines a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine that delivers 231 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels with an electric motor that produces 131 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque driving the front ones.
With a combined output of 362 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, the i8 goes from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and sprints to a top speed of 155 mph.
On the U.S. market the i8 is priced from $135,925.
Source: YouTube - BMW