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  • LEDs Part of VW Bus Makeover
Oct 2006
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Oct. 13, 2006 -- A 1960s icon has been reborn -- in part due to LED technology. Volkswagen of America Inc. (VW) and Osram Sylvania have collaborated on the Chameleon, a futuristic update of the 1964 Volkswagen Deluxe Microbus. Osram LED technology and other advancements are showcased on the concept vehicle.

"Volkswagen presented Osram with a unique opportunity to create a new 'look' for the classic VW bus without changing the vehicle's structure or character," David Hulick, global product manager for auxiliary lighting, said. "The versatility of the Joule LED system allowed us to give the bus a sleek, modern look while maintaining the nostalgic feel of the original."

vwchameleon.jpgVolkswagen produced the concept vehicle at its Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) in Palo Alto, Calif. The 1964 Type 2 Transporter, the original "hippy-bus," was updated with an electric motor and roof-mounted solar panels. The vehicle's original exterior lighting systems were also replaced using and auxiliary lighting technology from Osram.

Acknowledging the California feel of the VW bus, The ERL collaborated with Hybrid Technologies Inc. of Las Vegas to replace the original VW engine with an all-electric drive engine powered by lithium polymer batteries. Surfboards mounted on the roof are also lined with flexible solar panels that provide an additional source of energy.

The Volkswagen lab intends to use the microbus as a public relations tool to showcase the potential future of automobile electronics.

vwchamlight.jpgThis is the first vehicle constructed using LED systems for all major exterior lighting and signaling functions, Osram said. Three distinct approaches to LED lighting were used in the project: Forward lighting, including low- and high-beam headlamps -- using the Joule LED system powered by Osram Ostar units -- were installed on the bus. Daytime running lamps use Osram's Golden Dragon LEDs, and reflector optic Joule LED systems were used for the amber front turn signals, complete with the VW logo on the cap. A direct-view light guide optic system with red LEDs was used to achieve a distinct look for the rear turn signals. Both the front and rear turn signals are illuminated with Osram TOPLED LEDs.

Inside lighting technology includes a red dashboard illuminated by Osram TOPLED LEDs for a unique light-guide assembly. Remote ambient lighting in the main cabin use a fiber optic bundle powered by a single white Ostar lighting unit.

The interior of Chameleon also features an interactive digital instrument cluster, imbedded capacitive touch pads, digitally enhanced sound quality, entertainment options and speech-activated controls throughout the cabin. The exterior has new approaches to keyless entry, wide-angle parking cameras and switchable glass.

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