As the Industry Copes with Everstringent emissions and fuel economy standards, Hella KGaA Hueck & Co. is touting incremental gains in electronics technologies as a means to reduce carbon-dioxide output from vehicles.

Part of a broad theme overriding this year's SAE World Congress, the German supplier says the small improvements provided by its advanced lighting and other electronic components can add up to large reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in an auto maker's fleet.

Plus, these gains will add value to a consumer base that is becoming increasingly savvy with various electronic systems and the power they consume.

“The behavior of customers is changing, and they are becoming more aware of energy consumption,” says Ralf Voss, executive vice president-automotive electronics. “There is a need for a more sophisticated energy-management system.”

For a lighting supplier such as Hella, that means increased use of light-emitting-diodes that consume less power and are more easily packaged than conventional halogen or high-intensity discharge systems.

LED lighting is common in many automotive applications, such as taillights, but the first production installations for headlamps only now are appearing on vehicles in the U.S. and Europe.

These initial applications are expensive and not as efficient as they could be, Hella says, relegating them to high-end vehicles, such as the Cadillac Escalade Platinum, that can absorb the extra cost.

Also on the CO2-reducing front, Hella introduces an automatic start-stop system that shuts off the engine when a vehicle is stationary (BMW 1-Series in Europe), as well as intelligent battery sensors that work to prevent total battery discharge and optimize the charging process.

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