HP SnapLED Automotive Lighting Assembly Featured in 1998 Ford Explorer

First Application of SnapLED in Production Automobile

Palo Alto, California. Nov. 19, 1997

Hewlett-Packard Company today announced that the 1998 Ford Explorer, available in showrooms now, implements HP SnapLED technology in its center high-mount stop lamp (CHMSL). The HP SnapLED assembly, which HP believes is the most cost-effective solution for automotive exterior lighting, enables automotive manufacturers to design integrated exterior tail lamps, stop lamps and turn lamps using LEDs instead of conventional incandescent lamps. The flexibility of a SnapLED assembly enables automotive stylists to create more innovative designs.

"We applaud Ford's decision to use HP's LEDs in the 1998 Explorer," said Milt Liebhaber, general manager of HP's Optoelectronics Division. "HP's SnapLED assembly enables greater styling flexibility, lower power consumption and reduced package thickness for exterior automotive-lighting applications. Our leading technology is enabling HP to penetrate automotive markets that used incandescent bulbs exclusively just a few years ago."

The SnapLED assembly employs HP's TS AlInGaP materials, which lead the industry in terms of brightness. The brightness of these LEDs reduces the total number of LEDs required for tail-lamp and stop-lamp applications. Additionally, the SnapLED assembly is flexible, conforming to the shape of the vehicle and enabling thin tail-lamp assemblies.

Advantages for Automotive-lighting Designers

The SnapLED assembly is expected to enable taillight designs not possible with previous technologies. The assembly gives designers more flexibility to provide a differentiating appearance for vehicles.

The assembly enables uniform lighting of unusually shaped tail lamps and also accommodates the curvature of the vehicle's body. Additionally, the LEDs are available in red-orange and amber. The LEDs, which emit true red-orange and amber colors, are not dependent on lens color. This eases the red and amber lens-color restrictions of incandescent signal lamps and designs.

Advantages for Automotive Consumers

Apart from making innovative designs possible, the SnapLED assembly is expected to help increase safety on the road. Unlike incandescent bulbs, LEDs light up almost instantaneously. According to a study conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, motorists respond more quickly to LEDs, with improved braking response times of several car lengths at highway speeds. Quicker driver reactions have been linked to reduced vehicle collisions.

The SnapLED assembly also is expected to last the lifetime of the automobile, virtually eliminating warranty costs and the need for replacements.

Advantages for Vehicle Manufacturers

The SnapLED assembly's thin design and innovative fastening process are expected to greatly affect vehicle-body designs, and to significantly reduce design and manufacturing costs.

The thin structure of the SnapLED assembly enables vehicle-body-design engineers to eliminate the deep cavities in the car body required for incandescent tail lamps. With the SnapLED assembly, the sheet metal can be formed with a pocket into which the LED assemblycan be fastened. This eliminates the expensive sheet-metal tooling and assembly costs associated with the body cutouts required for incandescent bulbs. Eliminating the cavity cutouts also allows vehicle manufacturers to increase trunk space.

Vehicle manufacturers also are expected to benefit from the SnapLED assembly's energy-efficient design. LEDs consume less power than incandescent bulbs. This frees up electrical power for other systems in the vehicle.

U.S. Price and Availability

The HP SnapLED assembly is available now in the United States, Asia and Europe, with some standard-sized modules available for sale and sampling. Actual cost will vary based on design and will provide up to $10 savings per car to manufacturers vs. incandescent-bulb assemblies.

About HP

HP is the official information-technology hardware and maintenance supplier to the 1998 World Cup soccer tournament. About HP

Hewlett-Packard Company is a leading global provider of computing, Internet and intranet solutions, services, communications products and measurement solutions, all of which are recognized for excellence in quality and support. HP has 121,900 employees and had revenue of $42.9 billion in its 1997 fiscal year.

Information about HP and its products can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.hp.com.

(c) Copyright 1997 Hewlett-Packard Company.