BMW i8 in Detail: Laser Light

This week’s BMW i8 in Detail video will focus on yet another of the i8’s revolutionary innovations. The technology illuminated in this video is something that couldn’t be found on any other production car prior to the i8 because BMW hadn’t invented it yet. It’s going to change the way the world looks.

With laser beams.

The i8’s high beam laser lights project a greater range of visibility while using less energy than normal headlamps. How much greater? BMW says that laser lights will allow the driver to see 600 meters ahead of the car, covering twice as much distance as LED high beams.

You’re probably wondering just how this technology works. Laser beam headlights sound like something a supervillain would put on their car. The video shows you the laser lights, and it makes several claims, but it doesn’t specifically explain how they create a brighter light that is still safe to look at from the perspective of oncoming traffic.

Luckily, we found this article by HowStuffWorks that goes into more detail. They’ve already done a good job paraphrasing the technical jargon, so here it is in their words:

“What happens with each light is that three blue lasers positioned at the rear of the assembly fire onto a set of mirrors closer to the front. Those mirrors focus the laser energy into a lens filled with yellow phosphorus. The yellow phosphorus, when excited by the blue laser, emits an intense white light. That white light shines backward, onto a reflector. The reflector then bounces the more diffused white light forward, shining it out of the front of the headlight casing as a beam that is powerful, yet still able to be gazed upon. 

Pretty brilliant.

The additional advantage of laser lights is that their nature allows them to be much smaller than traditional light sources, which is how BMW is able to nest them within the i8’s LED running lights. Not only are laser lights smart, but they look awesome, too.

We recommend you read the full HowStuffWorks article to learn even more about i8 laser light technology. You can leave your questions about the BMW i8 in the comments below, in an email to, or with one of our staff members at Leith BMW.

BMW i8 in Detail: Laser Light was last modified: March 19th, 2015 by Leith BMW

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