One of the highlights of the new all-electric BMW i7 are the sparkling crystal headlights. ZKW has developed a unique lighting system in cooperation with Swarovski and the Bavarian car manufacturer. The four precisely cut crystals on each side of the “Iconic Glow” headlights are underlain by individually controlled LEDs. These support the daytime running and indicator lights, creating a vibrant, sparkling glow that is particularly effective during the “Welcome and Goodbye light staging” functions. In the lower part of the front of the BMW i7, high and low beams are discreetly positioned using ZKW LED matrix technology. The crystal headlights are produced in pan-European manufacturing. The premium crystal light was developed at the headquarters of the lighting systems specialist in Wieselburg, it is manufactured at the Slovakian site in Krusovce, the crystals come from Austria. “The innovative lighting system opens up new dimensions that no longer have anything in common with classic spotlights. With the crystal light, we have created a completely new kind of lighting effect for a premium automobile,” says Dr Wilhelm Steger, CEO of the ZKW Group.
The unique project presented the engineers from BMW Group, ZKW and Swarovski with major tasks. In order to make the crystals look like a grown crystal rather than jewellery, a special setting had to be developed. “The challenge was, in addition to developing the unmistakable design with BMW Group, to fix the large glass crystals stably and permanently in the headlamp. The main focus was on perfecting the crystal cut,” says Peter Widmann, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Swarovski Mobility. Special software was developed for the light functions of the “Iconic Glow” headlamp, which enables unique effects. In addition to the driving and flashing light, the premium lighting impresses, for example, with its sparkling “Welcome and Goodbye” light show.
From the blank to the sparkling spotlight
The design of the crystal luminaire is very important. Until now, there were only homogeneous strips of light on the road. The unique, luminous appearance of the “Iconic Glow” headlamp clearly stands out from the well-known light graphics. The precision is in the glass material, which can be processed much finer and more precisely than plastic.
Glare-free matrix LED technology
ZKW has equipped the main headlight, which is hidden in the lower part of the BMW i7, with adaptive matrix LED technology for low and high beam as well as glare-free high beam assist (BMW Selective Beam) as standard. “A special challenge in the development of the main headlamp together with the BMW design team was to make it as inconspicuous as possible in order to particularly emphasise the crystal light above it,” explains Thomas Edletzberger, project manager at ZKW.
As the industry leader in sustainable crystals, Swarovski relies on state-of-the-art technology and high-precision manufacturing in Austria. Unique brilliance and premium cuts distinguish the products. The high quality standards ensure unparalleled clarity without visible inclusions. Swarovski crystals for car headlights combine design and luxury with a new visual experience. Thanks to the high quality and durability, all crystal elements are resistant to UV light, heat, scratches and acids.