As the first pickup truck to use light-emitting diodes, the 2015 Ford F-150 will arrive with headlights that use 63 percent less energy than halogen bulbs, according to John Toedecki, Ford's lighting expert. The LED headlamps are also more durable than conventional lights, and are made to last more than five times longer.
To develop this new headlamp technology, Ford leveraged the expertise of its longtime lighting developers OSRAM and Flex-N-Gate. The program is creating more than 30 jobs at the OSRAM Hillsboro, N.H. facility.
Halogen bulbs have been in use for most vehicle applications for years. The design is similar to standard household light bulbs. Thin filaments inside the bulb last for about 40,000 miles before needing to be replaced. Extreme temperatures and vibration from washboard roads can shorten the life of halogen filaments even further.
The next step up from halogen is high-intensity discharge headlamps. HID light illuminates the road more uniformly than halogen bulbs. Ford offers this type of lighting on many of its vehicles, including the 2014 F-150.
With the LED lighting system available for the new F-150, Ford lighting experts had more freedom with the lamp design, because LEDs are smaller than typical headlamps and are easier to package. The new Ford F-150 LED headlamp unit uses semiconductor chips to control the light.
Ford designers created a unique lens for the F-150 LED headlamp with special machines that carve out 16 precision optical surfaces and 80 facets on the lens face to spread the light evenly. The design magnifies the light, allowing Ford to better illuminate the road for the new F-150 driver using just a single LED per lamp.