2002 Jaguar X Type 3.0 Sport
Dr. Justine Scully Smith

Report date: January 12, 2002

Bright lights in the night sky

After receiving numerous reports of strange blue lights in the night sky, I decided to pursue my own investigation. I went out for a series of night drives in search of evidence. It did not take me long to witness the phenomenon at first hand and to determine that the subjects giving off the strange light were not extra-terrestrial, rather they were earth-bound automobiles. More specifically, the culprits turned out to be certain prestige vehicles including Jaguar, BMW and Mercedes. As I looked in my X Type's electrochromatic rear view mirror, I could see most of the traffic emmitting the usual yellowish white light, then suddenly I would see that cold bluish illumination.

Upon returning to my office in the basement (it's on the second floor, actually) of the CJ building I began my research into the new lighting technology and found a veritable hot-bed of controversy and false science. In summary the lighting technology is known as High Intensity Discharge (HID) and Xenon is an inert gas that is an important part of the technology's successful application to every day street driving. Hence the X Type literature loosely referring to my bright blue lights as 'Xenon headlamps'.

The Science

The light is generated by creating an electrical discharge between two electrodes, within an arc tube. The arc tube is sealed in a glass jacket to filter ultraviolet light emissions. An electronic ballast that ignites and sustains the arc completes the system. Some web sites describe the "ignition of the Xenon gas". This is not true. The inert gas Xenon is ionized, not consumed during the arcing process. The photons are generated as a result of transitions from a higher to a lower energy state. The technology is not new, and has actually been used in sports arenas and stadiums for a number of years. Now, the technology has been developed to be applicable to street automotive use where there can be no discernible lag time between switching the lamp on and maximum output.

Compared to standard halogen, the Xenon HID headlamp technology has no filament, lower operating power consumption, has a higher colour temperature (thereby appearing whiter), has approximately 3X the light output and 10X longer life. It also provides enhanced peripheral vision and improved down the road illumination. HID headlights are legal, but it will become interesting as aftermarket kits become available for existing vehicles. Could illegal beam patterns be generated and how will this be checked?

Does HID really deliver enhanced peripheral vision? In a recent paper published by the Society of Automotive Engineers, scientists at the Lighting Research Center of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, concluded that HID headlamps do indeed produce greater off-axis visual peformance than traditional halogen systems as a result of their increased light output and spectral power distribution (shifted towards the shorter visible wavelengths which more closely matches the eyes off-axis sensitivity range at night). In this paper a number of subjects were measured performing a visual tracking task cognitively  similar to driving, while small targets located at various angles in the periphery were activated. This means HID headlamps help in the night detection of edge of roadway hazards, such as pedestrians and animals.

Why the controversy? My research did not uncover any scientific evidence that the glare from HID automotive lights caused any degradation in driver performance. The University of Michigan, for example, found that while HID glare caused discomfort, it did not cause disability. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, however, has received complaints of glare and is looking at the issues.

I think the Xenon HID headlights in my X Type are cool. Seriously cool. Could we adapt the technology for a Team CJ E Type? Maybe. Suffice it to say El Presidente is already some way down that well lit road.

Justine Scully Smith
Team CJ

Report date: December 23, 2001

The year 2001 will not be forgotten. So much to be thankful for, and so much to grieve over. But we go on, our spirits unbroken, finding happiness and joy where we can.  My own personal year ended with a pure sense of joy when I returned from Christmas shopping to find a brand new X Type in my garage. It was just like the movies! Standing there in all its silver glory tied with an enormous red ribbon.

Special Agent
Justine Scully Smith

Remember I am the Chief Financial Officer at Classic Jaguar and I like to keep a close eye on all expenditure. This spills over in to my personal life where typically my holiday gift buying does not often extend beyond the hundred dollar mark and even then I have to think twice. I am so glad that others around me are far more generous and casually justify the purchase of an X Type on the basis of "getting to know the latest Jaguar technologies" and "understanding the Jaguar brand".

The first time I opened the drivers door I was met by that unforgettable smell of leather. It crossed my mind that this is an experience I had missed while driving a convertible. That leather makes me think of reading rooms with large armchairs and a sense of quiet. Sliding into the drivers seat I instantly adored the silver trimmed guages and the hand polished wood. The console lay out is well done, but more on that next time. At the time of writing I have not encountered any green men (remember this is the X files) but I have encountered the green Jaguar racing dials and they are a hit.

My first outing in the X Type was that night, to a local biker bar. The X Type looked right at home amongst a magnificant display of polished Harleys. I noticed the Jaguar Traction 4 permanent all wheel drive during the journey. The car hugs the hills and bends of central Texas well and has a sporty, rear wheel drive feel. I did not have an opportunity to really let rip on the throttle, but acceleration away from the lights was responsive (0-60 mph is 7.1 seconds for the automatic, and 6.6 for the manual). OK, its not a Team CJ Special E Type rocket ship, but I did not find the performance lacking. What attracted my immediate attention were the Xenon headlights which lit the road with a brilliance I had not previously experienced. I don't know what it was like for on coming traffic but I felt very comfortable driving along the pitch black local roads. Perhaps Andy E Type can be a guinea pig for a night time test.

In summary, the car is a blend of traditional craftmanship and technical innovation. I am looking forward to testing the rain sensing wipers (could be a long wait in Texas) and the automatic dimming of the electrochromic mirror.

Complaints? Not really. I am getting used to the automatic drive away locking mechanism. A loud clunk that is a little unnerving at first, but useful for preventing passengers trying to escape as I take them out for yet another "test drive" in my smashing new motor. The new style of retractable key is alright, but its easy to press the automatic locking button when inserting and removing the ignition key.

The only real question is where to next. I don't want to work, I want to drive. With this page, perhaps I can do both.

Tidings of comfort and joy to you all at this Holiday time, from a grinning new X Type owner, deep in the heart of Texas.

Justine Scully Smith
Team CJ

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