Starting this fall, BMW will be the first manufacturer worldwide to offer a production vehicle equipped with headlamps utilizing a completely new laser light concept. This technology was first presented at the 2011 Frankfurt International Motor Show and will be an option on the new BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. While it’s available on BMW’s flagship automobile today, the technology will filter down to other models and hopefully BMW motorcycles in the future. Why is this important?
First, the laser technology nearly doubles the headlights illumination range (to about 2,000 feet) compared to the i8’s standard full LED headlights (a technology already used on some BMW Motorrad models). Second, the i8’s laser headlights are 30 percent more 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. And third, Laser diodes are 10 times smaller than conventional light diodes. They help to save not only available installation space inside the headlamp, but also weight. These features — range, power, size and weight — are even more critical when designing a motorcycle.
On the BMW i8, the size of the reflector surface can be reduced by a factor of up to 10 vs. LED light. The height of the reflector has been reduced from the previous 9 cm to less than 3. The light of a laser headlamp is extremely bright, similar to daylight, which is perceived by the human eye as pleasant. Several high-performance diodes emit a strongly bundled beam via special lenses onto a fluorescent phosphorus substance inside the headlamp. This substance transforms the beam into an exceptionally bright white light that is ten times more intensive than conventional light sources. Due to their highly intensive and virtually ideal beam properties, laser diodes render the overall system even more efficient. In conjunction with a camera-aided digital high-beam assistant, blinding of oncoming traffic or vehicles ahead is reliably eliminated.
BMW sums it up this way, “BMW Laser Light is the ideal light source for the main beam of a vehicle. It combines unparalleled performance and safety with a high level of efficiency and exceptional compactness. Its outstanding range facilitates improved illumination and even better visibility when driving in the dark. As a result, it ensures a more relaxed and comfortable driving experience and enhanced road safety.”
All important factors that will fit perfectly on future BMW motorcycles.