Ford's New Fusion Ditches Interior Incandescent Bulbs, Goes All LED
February 23, 2012 6:00 PM
comment(s) - last by
The 2013 Ford Fusion
(Source: Ford Motor Company)
"Ice blue" will be the default light setting for Ford line, "white" for Lincoln
At a event on "lightscaping" Ford Motor Comp. (
) discussed its transition to LED lighting and what is sees as the marriage of science and design when it comes to illuminating the interior of the automobile.
I. Ford Pushes LED Shift
Cabin lighting is almost as old as the automobile itself; by the 1940s many cars were already sporting dome lights [
]. Gradually glovebox and instrument cluster lighting became ubiquitous as well, satisfying the basic needs of car goers. But even as other components involved, lighting stood static, driven by failure-prone incandescent bulbs.
beginning to change
. Automakers have begun to push
(LEDs) both for exterior lights (
, tail lights, brake lights, etc.) and for interior lighting. Ford has been among the companies pushing hardest.
Ford introduced LED lighting in the 2003 model year Lincoln Navigator, an entry-level luxury SUV. Since then it's been slowly trickling the technology down to its mass market vehicles, including sedans.
The culminations of what Ford calls 8 years of efforts is found in the
2013 Ford Fusion
, which is Ford's first mass-market vehicle to use only LEDs on its interior.
The upcoming 2013 Ford Fusion will exclusively use LEDs for interior lighting, with the default color being "ice blue". [Image Source: Ford Motor Company]
Already sitting pretty with
hybrid-like mileage in its gas-only variant
, the new Fusion will carry Ford's new default "Ice Blue" lighting color, which the company says first popped up in the 2011 Ford Explorer.
Ford technical leader for Design, Mahendra Dassanayake, states, "Lighting is evolving from basic needs to how to deliver enhanced experience, comfort, and convenience."
II. "Ice Blue" -- Ford's New Interior Color of Choice
Traditionally, despite Ford's logo being a shade of blue, Ford's interiors were lit with red incandescent bulbs, which whose light was sent through filters to present a green appearance. According to Ford and its academic partners, green was a color that was traditionally associated with relaxation.
But the new shade "ice blue" should help improve both driver attentiveness is psychologically associated with luxury, according to Ford. Ford says that research has shown different colors of light activate different parts of the human brain. While such statements might seem a bit nebulous and biased, the
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
in New York in 2008 published quantitative research that showed that
shining a blue light on drowsy drivers
helps keep them awake (and alive).
An infographic on emotions associated with certain colors from Ford. (If purple is magical, how come the iPad is black?) [Image Source: Ford Motor Company]
(Lincoln-branded vehicles will use white LED light, by default.)
Ford says that
OSRAM Slyvania, Inc.
(privately held) provided most of its diode elements, designed to a strict "specification of power, color, and reliability."
An added perk of Ford's switch to LEDs is the addition of user specified tones. While "ice blue" may come standard, drivers can also select orange, red, green, purple, or blue tones. Ford accomplishes these different shades by packaging a red, a green, and blue LEDs into a unified package with waveguides. Thus producing a certain shade is as elementary as driving each diode at a particular milliamp current level, although in practice picking universally appreciated shades is a subject of considerable thought and consideration.
The previous Ford Fusion had this perk for accent lights, but the new Fusion extends variable lighting to the cabin in its entirety.
III. Costs are Offset by Savings, Luxury
LED lights -- particularly bright ones --
. But the switch ultimately nets Ford numerous savings in the long-run.
One saving comes from not having to replace interior bulbs. According to Ford engineers, an average incandescent lightbulb last "2, maybe 3 years" in an oft-used automobile. By contrast Ford's Interior Chief Designer Michael Arbaugh says that LED lights' life is "more than the car."
The LED bulbs in Ford's interiors will likely outlive the vehicle, say their designers. They are unlikely to ever need a replacement. [Image Source: Instructables]
Aside from simple heat-stress failure, Ford says that the filaments in incandescent bulbs can fail due to vibrations, such as the loading of a truck. So borrowing Ford's assumption that the average vehicle sees around 10 years, and 150,000 miles of deployment, that's anywhere from 3 to 5 replacement bulbs, on average, per light source.
And Ford says that the LED package is a fourth the size is a fourth the size of a incandescent-bulb based package. This saves Ford time and money both on packaging the element and on the assembly line.
Overall the reliability and efficiency of the small components, coupled with the luxury justify the small expense, Ford feels. And unlike some competitors, Ford feels the time is now for LED in mass-market non-luxury vehicles.
Mr. Arbaugh pitches, "The outside is about love, the inside is about happiness."
Well, happiness and LEDs, that is.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Ford LED
2/27/2012 12:07:51 PM
On my '78 Fairmont (275K miles), I've had to replace headlights (several times), brake lights, dome lights, shift indicator lights, and instrument panel lights, but not very often, over a period of many years. The lights behind the dashboard are a real pain, and are a great place for LEDs.
On my little Honda motorcycle, the engine vibration killed the turn signal lights evey couple of months, but the rest of the lights were fine for years.
And I've seen a lot of LEDs fail, mainly in cheap flashlights and nightlights, where they were being overdriven, at the expense of lifetime, with no heatsinking.
But good engineering can make LED bulbs and fixtures reliable, and volume use will drive affordability.
Ford's exaggerated claims of incandescent unreliability undercut their otherwise reasonable case for migration to
all LED bulbs.
"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes
Ford's 2013 Fusion Hybrid Clobbers the Competition, Delivers 47 MPG City/44 MPG Highway
January 8, 2012, 11:34 PM
Osram/Sylvania Presents Affordable, Efficient LED System for Forward, Rear Signal Lighting
April 5, 2011, 12:00 AM
EPA Names Ford "Most Improved" in Fuel Economy
December 18, 2009, 11:37 AM
All-New, Tech-Filled Audi A8 Coming to America
December 1, 2009, 12:34 PM
California Company Launches $119 LED Light Bulb
March 30, 2009, 12:02 PM
Dual-Motor Tesla Model S P85D's "Insane Mode" Shocks Passengers
January 28, 2015, 11:18 PM
2016 Cadillac CTS-V Packs 640 hp Punch with 200 mph Reach
January 23, 2015, 3:25 PM
BMW Testing Tech to Allow Users to Auto-Park, Summon Cars Via Smartwatch
December 16, 2014, 9:30 AM
Lamborghini Offers Up $6,000 Leather-Bound Android Smartphone
December 12, 2014, 3:12 PM
Quick Note: GM Teases Next Generation Chevrolet Volt
November 20, 2014, 3:26 PM
Audi is Latest to Step Into the Hydrogen Game, Delivers A7 Sportback h-tron quattro
November 19, 2014, 1:41 PM
Most Popular Articles
Modern Glass (Windows 7 Aero Glass + Modern UI) Style is Coming to Windows 10
February 19, 2015, 1:05 PM
Amid Tight Race w/ Evernote, Microsoft's OneNote Goes (Even More) Free, Adds Fresh Features
February 23, 2015, 11:15 AM
EDITORIAL: Board Wants to Anoint America World Police w/ Global Warrant Power
February 20, 2015, 9:10 AM
Quick Note: Microsoft Gives Dropbox Users Extra 100 GB of Free OneDrive Storage
February 20, 2015, 9:48 AM
NVIDIA Bows to Outraged Overclockers, Will Restore Feature in Upcoming Driver
February 23, 2015, 12:30 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information