Design & Technology

The development of car lamps and the bright future of Kia’s automotive lighting October 27th, 2015


Gone are the days when headlights were simple round fixtures on cars. With advancements in lighting technology, headlights have since become a prominent feature of automotive design. Let’s take a look at the development of car lamps and how they have come to be more than just lighting mechanisms.




Often referred to as the ‘eyes’ of a car’s symmetrical face, car lamps are first and foremost a safety device created to provide visibility for drivers and to signal and communicate with other motorists. To serve this purpose, car lamps are regulated under strict standards to ensure full and proper functionality when driving.



Kia Sportage light placements emphasize its strong image


However, because the size, color and placement of lamps play a big role in providing vehicles with character and distinctiveness, lamps have also evolved into an important design element. With style playing as important a role as functionality, lamps are now iconic and intricate structures that demand high efficiency and attractive design.



(Top left: Sorento, top right: Sportage, bottom left: Optima, bottom right: Quoris)


The evolution of electric car lamps

As one of the earliest electric car lamp designs found on vehicles, sealed beam lamps were essentially large light bulbs with a filament sealed between glass enclosures. When they burnt out, the fixture had to be replaced completely.

Halogen lamps are light bulbs that feature a filament surrounded by halogen gas, which allows for the filament to burn at higher temperatures, resulting in a longer and brighter-burning light. Halogen lamps continue to be used today for automobiles but are increasingly being phased out.

High intensity discharge (HID) lamps create light by igniting an electrical discharge between two electrodes in a glass tube filled with inert gasses. HID lighting emits a long lasting light of superior intensity and focus.

The most popular technological innovation in headlamps is the lightemitting diode (LED) lamp. LED lamps consume very little energy to produce light that is approximately four times stronger than halogen lighting. Furthermore, its compact size and durability allows it to be incorporated in slim and sleek car designs.



The Optima’s rear lights contribute to its sleek and dynamic silhouette


As car lamps have become increasingly slimmer and more energy efficient, progressively innovative light designs have started to emerge. As car lamp positioning is now an integral aspect of automobile design, lighting technology is becoming more and more a product of collaborative efforts between designers and engineers. Innovators at Kia have started applying advanced lighting technology to bring to life more creative and striking designs and dynamic silhouettes.



Quoris (K900) features Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFLS)

Focusing on the virtues of luxury, uniqueness and functionality, the designers and engineers at Kia are focused on reading future lighting trends and staying on the frontier of technological innovations.