Lighting systems have a measurable effect on an automobile's fuel economy. Conventional halogen units, for example, consume over 135 watts of power in their low-beam headlight mode. By comparison, LED headlights operate with significantly better energy efficiency; LED low-beam lights only consume around 80 watts. The EU Commission has measured the fuel savings achieved by LED headlights from Audi – testing the low-beam headlights, high-beam headlights and license plate light in dynamometer testing.
In the ten driving cycles according to the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) that the Audi A6 ran through, CO2 savings were found to be over one gram per km (1.61 g/mile). As a result, the EU Commission has officially identified the LED headlights as an innovative technology for reducing CO2 emissions. This finding is relevant for the car manufacturer since it improves itsfleet fuel consumption position.
Audi is the first car manufacturer to be certified for this technology. LED daytime running lights made their debut in the Audi A8 W12 back in 2004. Then, in 2008, the R8 sports car became the world’s first car to feature full-LED headlights. Today, this high-end lighting system is available in five model series: the R8, A8, A6, A7 Sportback and A3. Audi designs the LED headlights differently for different models. On the A8, for example, 76 light-emitting diodes are used per unit. On the Audi A3, 19 LEDs operate in each headlight to generate the low-beam and high-beam lights; they are supplemented by a module for the all-weather and cornering lights as well as a light guide for the daytime running lights, side lights and turn signals. The LEDs are maintenance-free and designed to last the life of the car.