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Hello. Has anyone who's installed LED head lights in their 1st Gen volt noticed any boost in EV miles at night? I'm not too concerned about brightness, though I do prefer the 5-6k light temperature.

On that same topic, any recommendations on a reliable brand/model for LED head lights? I've read about some bad experiences with their heat sinks being undersized resulting in premature failure. Also sizing issues as LED's are usually larger.

PS: I know that technically LED lights retrofits are not DOT approved (And I don't care :rolleyes:)
 

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Hello. Has anyone who's installed LED head lights in their 1st Gen volt noticed any boost in EV miles at night?
No. I've noticed they stink at melting snow though.

.....any recommendations on a reliable brand/model for LED head lights?
I rarely recommend anything I'm still trying out but I bought a set of Xenon Depot 9012 LEDs (link). There are cheaper ones out there (less expensive ones too).

I like these pretty much, except for that snow melting thing.

PS: I know that technically LED lights retrofits are not DOT approved (And I don't care :rolleyes:)
I didn't bother looking for a DOT approval.
 

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Absolutely. You'll add 1/10th of a mile over the course of a year by switching to LED. :)

I actually don't know the number, but suspect it's very, very small. To test, turn off your lights during the day and see if you can even notice a range difference. I suspect not, but could be proved wrong.
 

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I think Steverino is pretty close to right. Remember, the OEM halogen bulbs are only about 55w each. Not sure exactly what the draw is on the LED bulbs, but you're saving maybe 75 watts by switching. Figure out how far you'll go on 75 watts and that should give you a pretty liberal estimate of what added range you can see. Personally when comparing to the trouble that some people have had with the LEDs creating issues, I'd be more comfortable "wasting" 1/10 of a mile range just to avoid.
 

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No, headlights = about 100 watts, A.C. around 2,000 watts, heater around 7,000 watts, car up to 111,000 watts (maybe 10,000 to 20,000 watts average), so the lights are less than 1%. Not sure that LEDs are much more efficient for headlights anyway, maybe slightly. Pretend you save 20 watts it would increase range maybe 0.1%, which would be inside your measurement error.
 

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Very doubtful they would make a huge difference, as others have suggested.

Take for example that the headlights in a typical car are ~70W (according to a quick google search)...and an LED will probably be ~ 8x more efficient for a similar amount of light, it would draw ~ 10W, so you have a net savings of ~60W.

So, ~ 60W savings x2 = 120W less power draw (or 0.12 kWh per hour of run time), so over 10 hours of run time that would be a 'savings' of ~1.2 kWh....but thats assuming you drive 10 hours, and that is a bit misleading since you cant drive a volt on battery only for 10 straight hours...well, unless your name is Ari_c!!! :)

So, realistically if you start out at night in a gen1 with a full battery charge you can probably drive for ~ 45 min before the battery is fully depleted (assuming travelling at 60 mph on a highway).

Over that 45 min, you'll 'save' around 0.09 kWh of energy. Assuming you are driving 'normally' and get around 4 miles/kWh that would mean that you can go an additional 0.36 miles per charge with LED headlights at night (or around 575 meters for those of us on the metric system)......

I think my math/logic is correct, but feel free to point out if I've made a mistake....it was a fun to think about at least, so thanks for posting the question....I actually would have thought it would have been less than that even :)

Edit: Damn, in the time it took me to write this 3 others responded :)
 

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Just to add, here is a great study that addresses this for gas and electric cars.
https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/61187?show=full
They mention in current cars, LED low beams use basically the same power as Halogen low beams, and high beams about 60%.

You don't have 8x efficiency in current LED car lights. I also think they might be brighter than same wattage halogen so you might have better lighting, so maybe 2x or a bit better efficiency?

Edit, this study is a little old but point stands. However, maybe car LEDs are approaching 8x by now? Anyway, even if your LEDs used no power, the savings would be around 1% or 2% at best. Worthwhile considering an entire fleet, but not going to extend your range significantly.
 

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One more thing to add, I know you realize that they are illegal to use, likely because they are brighter than halogen by watt. If they are 4x efficiency, that means a 30w LED is putting out more than twice the light (making them look favorable in comparisons). This is like using offroad 120 watt halogens or brighter. Be sure to test it by someone else driving past you in the Volt to see what you are inflicting on other drivers. Overly bright headlights are a safety hazard for other cars, however, they might not be terrible depending on reflector design.
 

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How do HIDs compare to LEDs, and similarly to OEMs? I recently upgraded to HIDs from Diode Dynamics (the 35W 6K kit). Didn't do a ton of research, but it was an easy install, they provide much better light, and doesn't seem to be bothering oncoming drivers - at least I haven't been flashed yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
In terms of brightness, HID's and LED's are quite similar. They'll almost always be brighter than halogens.

LED's are pretty much all around better than HID.
* They're easier to install since there's no ballast that needs to be mounted.
* They use less power.
* They do not need to warm up (HID's take a few minutes to get to full brightness).
* They're more durable (No sensitive glass housing).
* They can be safely flashed (HID's are sensitive to flashing, doing so will reduce lifespan)

The only thing that HID's have going for them is that they're cheaper and proven. Where as many LED's are dying early due to poor designs (Mostly to do with thermals). This may have changed since I last shopped for them (2 years ago), but it's important to keep that in mind when looking for them.
 

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I have replaced all (100%) of the incandescent bulbs of my 1995 Buick Regal to LEDs (including the headlamps and every single interior and exterior lamp) in 2010, and it isn't a cost saver. It does make the car more visible at night and during our rainy seasons, so it increases the safety feature and prevents accidents due to poor atmospheric illumination. That is worth the cost! The second benefit is that it will never need any bulb replacements under normal use for the life of the car. I sold the Regal in December 2015 (I had it since December 1994), so it is still running after my 21 years of ownership. The new owner loves the Regal, and really appreciates the higher visibility.

Last menth (February) I completed the 100% replacement of all the lights in my present 2009 Chevy Equinox (also the headlights and every interior and exterior lamp), and it is much more visible even with the DRL on. I am happy with the cost and work investment, and it will help protect me and my wife from possible accidents due to poor illumination, too. So this is a added safety issue for me, and will not save money in gasoline.

All my LEDs were purchased from one distributor, Formula-J87 (http://formulaj87.com/) and they will sell a set according to the vehicle you have, including the two generations of the Chevy Volt. They sell great brands, not the cheap Chinese knockoffs, and offer a warranty on any products. One of the red tail LEDs for my Regal was a DOA, and they sent me a replacement. I found them at eBay and bought my Regal lamps this way, but now I buy directly from their store. Here are their eBay reviews:
https://www.marketplacepulse.com/ebay/usa/formula-j87
http://www.ebay.com/usr/formula-j87?_trksid=p2053788.m1543.l2754
 

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One more thing to add, I know you realize that they are illegal to use, likely because they are brighter than halogen by watt. If they are 4x efficiency, that means a 30w LED is putting out more than twice the light (making them look favorable in comparisons). This is like using offroad 120 watt halogens or brighter. Be sure to test it by someone else driving past you in the Volt to see what you are inflicting on other drivers. Overly bright headlights are a safety hazard for other cars, however, they might not be terrible depending on reflector design.
My 1995 Buick Regal (see my past postings) and my 2009 Chevy Equinox have LEDs for the headlights, and are brighter and whiter than the factory lamps. But I also polished the headlight housings to keep the light clear and straight. I see many modern cars with the plastic headlight housings due to sunlight damage, turning cloudy or yellow and dispersing the bright light in all directions instead of focused down the highway lane as it was designed to do. So if anyone replaced their lamps for HIDs or LEDs, they must also have the headlight housings polished, too.
 

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How do HIDs compare to LEDs, and similarly to OEMs? I recently upgraded to HIDs from Diode Dynamics (the 35W 6K kit). Didn't do a ton of research, but it was an easy install, they provide much better light, and doesn't seem to be bothering oncoming drivers - at least I haven't been flashed yet.
My understanding with HID is that they are more efficient than Halogen, maybe somewhere between LED and Halogen, but do have some warm up time (less than 1 minute) before they reach full brightness and bulbs won't last as long.
 

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Iv'e personally tested both LED and HID on my volt. It's no contest... HID is MUCH brighter. LED can't compare! I can't comment on life span or power usage (35w) at this point...hoping for good longevity from the HID system, but expecting a short life span.

The lumen and brightens claims by LED manufacturers are unfounded. They are not brighter then factory halogen!

If you chose to buy LED, then the OPT7 is definitely the answer. It's considered the brightest in the industry. It has a clean white light and is almost as bright as the stock halogen!

Tested:

Xenondepot.com 9012 HID KIT | XTREME HID genuine Phillips 35watts (Extremely clean white light and brighter then stock halogen)
Kensun 9006/9012 (Clean white light, not very bright)
OPT7 9012 (Clean white light...almost as bright as stock halogen)

I found my exact same tests (all three lighting systems) after I did my own tests... figures! He includes pictures!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R2J36382C95F1X/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B01LX8OTI7
 

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Lets assume a regular 1 hour commute. Factory HIRs consume 110W (55W per bulb). In one hour, you are using .1kWh. This translates to about .4 EV miles (assuming 4 miles per kWh). Even if the LEDs are four times as efficient, you are gaining about .3 EV miles on a 1 hour trip
 

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In my post about updating my headlamps to LED (http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?233585-8th-Gen.-ZES-Chips-9006-HB4-LED-Headlight-Conversion-Kit-Review&p=3707193#post3707193) I ended up with a few (facious but real) calculations of range increase and cost benefits. I have changed all my cabin lights to LEDs as well as my headlights.

I Quote:
Just for kicks I ran some calculations on the performance gains and the savings resulting from the reduced current flow using LEDs. I used some assumptions such as the headlights would be on for 10% of my driving, and that the dome lights would be on for about 5 minutes for a typical 38 mile charge cycle. I also used a very low kWh rate of .03 per, as that is about what my electric company, APS pays me for the excess power from my rooftop solar at the end of each year. If I were paying normal electrical costs, the payback would be about 5 times faster.

The results:
For the increase in range on a nominal 38 mile charge, the dome light change would add 19 feet to the range. The headlights would add about 119 feet! Woo Hoo!!

As far as return on investment, the combination of all the LEDs would reach break even at about 19 million miles! (Really!) Of course without my solar and the resulting higher electric rates, it would be ONLY about 4 million miles!

End Quote

If you ran your headlights full time, the range increase would be about 1190 feet, or about .21 miles out of 38 miles, or about 0.5%.

Dick
 
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