Car Tech A to Z: X is for Xenon headlights

The letter X in our A to Z of car tech series examines the inner workings of xenon headlights

The technology contained within the modern motor car can be both fascinating but slightly baffling nowadays. Most of such technology exists to make our cars safer, more efficient and just better than ever to drive.

But some of it can be quite confusing for the average motorist, so in this A to Z series we will attempt to unravel the mystery of technology that is the modern motor car. This week, we’re visiting the letter X…

X is for… Xenon headlights. Xenon is a chemical element with the symbol XE and the atomic number 54 – but you and I are probably more familiar with it as a term to describe high performance headlights.

The first ever High Intensity Discharge headlamps containing xenon gas appeared in the early 1990s and were made by Hella and Bosch, but nowadays they’re commonplace on premium cars.

The light they produce is twice as bright as a traditional halogen bulb, and also lasts longer. And bi-function construction – more commonly known as bi-xenon headlights – means both high and low beam can come from just one single headlamp unit.

Next, the letter Y…

A-Z of car tech

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