But the fuel-saving issue is one that the company would rather downplay. Yes, LED lighting will save you fuel, says business development manager-forward and interior lighting Mike Grote, but the savings is difficult to quantify and depends on the application of the vehicle.
Mike Grote still sees some applications where incandescent lighting continues to make the most sense. A fleet that operates in tight spaces and is constantly having lights knocked off is not going to invest in LEDs, nor is a fleet that only operates its vehicles during the day and whose drivers never turn on the lights. “I’m going to have a hard time telling them they should be buying LEDs,” he says with a chuckle.
Nonetheless, for most fleets LEDs are worth a serious look. “Actually, incandescents are going to be going up in price, as we make fewer of them,” says Grote, underscoring the point. “You just don’t get your economies of scale.”
“If an individual is going to look at an incandescent light bulb because it’s a cheaper product and I can get my vehicle back on the road faster, when you drill down behind the maintenance side, including all the shop time, LEDs are actually more practical over the longer term,” Paul says. “The cost of LEDs has come down significantly, it’s no longer a massive chasm between incandescent and LED pricing. So, I think we’re going to see a lot more moves to LED technology, as long as we can get that message out that it’s a longer-term strategy as opposed to an impulse buy.”
In other words, think it through. Switching to newer lighting technology has a ripple effect throughout the maintenance operation, Paul explains.
“Regardless of what Grote does from an engineering or design point-of-view, if, in the field, people don’t practice proper installation and care, then that’s a problem that you can’t blame on the LED,” he says. “If you’re going to invest in LED technology, don’t forget to invest in training your maintenance guys.”