When it comes to electric vehicles, many people likely assume that LED headlights are a standard feature. After all, EVs are cutting-edge, energy-efficient vehicles that prioritize sustainability and technological advancements — so it only makes sense that they would come equipped with the latest lighting technology, right? However, this assumption isn’t always accurate.
Take the 2011 Nissan LEAF, for example. While this EV was certainly ahead of its time in terms of its electric powertrain (it beat Tesla to market with a 5-seat, 4-door family car), it didn’t necessarily come standard with LED headlights. Instead, the lower trim levels of the 2011 LEAF were outfitted with halogen bulbs, while the higher-end SL package boasted LED headlights.
I used to own one of these 2011 SLs, and it was my first vehicle with LED lamps. And, it was a gamechanger, making driving a lot more pleasurable and easy at night, while also having an adjustable cutoff to prevent blinding other drivers.
There are several reasons why they’re such a good thing. For one thing, LED headlights are significantly more energy-efficient than halogen bulbs, which means they can help conserve battery life, even if only to get a couple of miles of extra range per battery. Additionally, LED lights produce a brighter, crisper light that can improve visibility on the road, particularly during inclement weather conditions. LED headlights also tend to have a longer lifespan than halogen bulbs, meaning they may need to be replaced far less frequently.
Of course, it’s worth noting that many newer EV models now come standard with LED headlights across all trim levels. As automakers continue to prioritize energy efficiency, safety, and driver convenience, it’s likely that we’ll see even more EVs outfitted with this advanced lighting technology in the years to come.
But, if you’re one of the EV drivers with a low-spec car that didn’t come with LED lights, there’s little stopping you from upgrading yours in 2023. In fact, I did this last year on my 2018 LEAF S, which I’ve since sold. Today, I’m going to review another option for readers to consider.
Sadly, I don’t have any EVs left in which I can test LED upgrade bulbs, so I had to use an ICE vehicle (2005 Acura MDX) for the review. But, headlights are headlights, no matter whether there’s an electric motor behind them or an ICE powerplant, so everything you’ll read here should translate over if you’re considering upgrading your EV.
AUXITO’s Take On LED Headlights
A few months ago, AUXITO contacted me and offered to send me a set of LED headlights to test. I had a lot going on, and I forgot to install them in any of my vehicles, but once I had installed them, I realized that I should have made the upgrade a bigger priority because they make a big difference.
You can learn all about the specifications either at the company’s website or in the video below:
Installation was super simple, just as the video depicts. We were able to swap them out just like any halogen lamp we’ve put in the vehicle in the past, and had it back on the road in 5 minutes. There may be some vehicles where you’d have a harder time, but there seemed to not be too much sticking out of the back of the bulb, thanks to the external driver design. It came with zip ties you can use to tidy the installation up after and prevent rattling or other problems.
Halfway through installation, we stopped to get pictures with a standard halogen bulb on one side and an LED on the other, and it looked not unlike those dogs with two different colored eyes.
I like to test this way because camera settings can make any light look super bright or dim. By having one bulb factory and one bulb LED, you can actually see how they compare, regardless of camera settings.
Here’s what the light patterns look like pointed at a wall (which isn’t white) near my house:
With the exposure set to avoid blowing out the highlights, you can see that the LED side has a much crisper white color, along with a much better beam pattern. Like the halogen bulb, there’s still a sharp cutoff on low beams that prevents other drivers from getting blinded by your lights.
When there are no other drivers ahead of you, you’ll want maximum light for safety, and the high beams the company included did that. As you can see, the high beam is much brighter for the LED and still has a nice crisp white color.
It’s hard to really make a valid comparison photos looking from the driver’s seat, so I didn’t do that this time. But, I did notice driving around that the view was a lot better at night, and was even a little brighter than my Bolt EUV Premier. Other drivers weren’t flashing their high beams at me, either, so it ended up being a safe and considerate bulb choice.
A Word Of Warning (Plus, a Bonus Curse!)
Volumes of digital ink have been spilled about LED retrofit bulbs. While many people love them, the people who don’t know the difference between malum prohibitum and malum in se (not to mention the concept of prosecutorial discretion) will tell you all about how they weren’t certified to go on your vehicle, and how the police will come and shoot your dog if you install them on your car.
While they may or may not be right about the legalities, that’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself based on your own research. Despite my knowledge of a few Latin terms, I’m still not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. I didn’t even stay at the Holiday Inn Express last night. I’m also not your mom.
What I can tell you is that you, as a vehicle owner and driver, do have responsibility to be safe with your vehicle. I’d personally only recommend installing LED retrofit bulbs in a vehicle with projector headlamps, because they tend to have a very good low-beam cutoff to prevent blinding people. Even then, you should still test any LED bulbs you put in your car against a plain wall or a garage door to make sure they aren’t going to blind people before venturing out onto public roads with them.
Moralities and legalities completely aside, if you’re one of those people driving around blinding people with shitty bulbs or just by leaving your brights on, you’re a bad person and I hope you choke (but hopefully not while driving).
All images by Jennifer Sensiba.
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