I would strongly disagree. I'd have to see evidence, i.e., an 8th generation projector light with one side H9 and the other, HID (not the inexpensive kits, but rather the Philips HID from Germany). I have several European sport cars, most of which I have upgraded the OEM bulb from 4300K to a higher output, which yields a better overall drivers view and I can tell you that having become use to driving cars with HID lights, I find it almost dangerous to drive behind the wheel of a car with halogen headlights. Three key items I'd like to point out;
Hate to be the bearer of bad news but I'll bet that German Philips HID kit you have is not a real Philips kit. I'm friends with the executive in charge of world wide automotive lighting at Philips corporate and it's his assertion that Philips has never made HID kits and has never provided HID burners to the rebasing market. It's all fake according to him. There is a vendor in the US, The Retrofit Source, that was selling what they had been told were rebased Philips burners. Upon pressing the supplier for the truth the supplier finally admitted that the bulbs were in fact not Philips but were counterfeit. As the colour temperature of the light increases beyond 4100K we humans actually, and in real world testing, see less. The light may seem whiter and/or bluer but it actually tricks the human visual system into thinking we can see more. There's a good reason why OEM HID is capped at 4100K - if we humans could see more with 5000K light then 5000K is what OEM HID would be.
First off, H.I.D. lights work better because they are much brighter compared to halogen lights. The average lumen (the amount of brightness that comes from a light source) of an H.I.D. light is about 4000 lumens. Compare this with a typical halogen light which is 1400 lumens, and you’ll see the point. I've read some articles where drivers react faster and more accurately to minor roadway mishaps when they are using H.I.D. headlamps rather than the halogen ones. The testers believe that the primary reason is due to clearer visibility when using H.I.D. lights, which speaks directly against your article.
HID lights don't automatically work better than halogen. Just as there are good and bad halogen lights there are good and bad HID lights. There are, believe it or not, some halogen headlights that are considered better than some HID headlights. It's all in the engineering. Have you ever wondered why OEM HID is typically wider than OEM halogen? It's because we headlight designers cannot put all of the light available from the HID bulb into straight-ahead lighting. HID headlights would never pass certification testing if the beam pattern was the same as halogen. There'd be too much forward light and this is one of the very reasons HID kits are just bad news.
The article is written by one of the best HID headlight designers and gurus in the business. I'm not sure which testers you are referring to but I'd bet my paycheque they don't know more about automotive lighting than Mr. Stern does. I have been designing headlights, HID and halogen for just over 25 years so I'd like to think I know a little about that of which I speak.
A typical OEM HID setup is about 3100 lumens, not 4000 as you claim. A typical 35w HID kit (which typically are only about 27-30w) and has inferior salts in its bulbs is unlikely to produce more than 2700 lumens. And that's at 4100K temperature. As the colour temperature goes up the lumens go down. An H9 bulb is rated 2100 lumens at 12.8v. When the engine is running and voltage is at 13.8-14v, that will increase to ~2700 lumens (lumens of a halogen bulb increase with voltage to the power 3.4). An H9 will easily have more lumens than a typical HID kit (HID output does not vary with input voltage as long as the minimum required voltage for the ballast is met).
The colour temperature of HID can be problematic compared to that of halogen. The SPD (spectral power distribution) of HID favours blue light (this is why HID appears "whiter" than halogen). This bluer light is problematic in wet weather because the driver's visibility actually decreases in wet weather with HID. HID also causes a colour shift - what would be red with halogen will look redish-gray with HID. It's generally accepted in the industry that people see colours truer with halogen than with HID although the jury is out on whether that really matters. What is also accepted is that HID is not "better" than halogen and it certainly does not give clearer visibility (whatever that really means?).
I drive two cars with OEM HID myself - a Porsche 911 and an Infiniti G37X. Both have decent lighting but if I'm driving at night in wet weather I'll jump in either my Accord or my XJ6. Both have halogen lighting systems. It's interesting that my Accord with 9012 HIR bulbs in place of the 9006 OEM bulbs actually produces more usable light than the OEM HID in my 911 or G37X. It's not as wide a beam as the other two cars but the light is more usable especially in inclement weather.
Second, H.I.D. burners give off more light from less power than halogen lights. What this means is that power consumption is significantly reduced. What's more, reduced fuel consumption can consequently produce lesser CO2 emissions per vehicle. This leads to a much cleaner and greener environment which is the a hot topic nowadays.
Correct. Assuming a 35w (OEM) or 27-30w (typical Chinese kit) is used. The folks who opt for 55w HID are saving no energy.
Third, H.I.D. lights work better than halogen lamps because their average life span is 2000 hours, while a halogen lamp runs for about 450 to 1000 hours.
The average lifespan of OEM quality HID can be 2000 hours. The life of Chinese HID bulbs, the ones found in most if not all HID kits last much less than that. The newest Philips 9012 bulb is rated at 1400 hours and, again, I'd bet my paycheque that it outlasts a typical aftermarket HID bulb. And I really can't see why average life matters in whether a headlight is good or not - surely it's the light on the road that matters? Regardless, just like halogen bulbs, HID bulbs diminish in output over time. Should anyone actually get 2000 hours out of a HID bulb it will probably be putting out no more than 1000 lumens and will certainly not be as white as it was when new.
I ran a series of tests several years ago for the company that I was designing headlights for at the time. The test was to see which headlights were considered "better". We took a standard halogen projector and ran the test with halogen bulbs and a HID kit. Every single time the HID kit was used the test subjects said the kit provided better light than the halogen bulb. Even when we were able to clearly demonstrate that their distance vision dropped dramatically with the HID kit (because of the overlit foreground) they still said the HID kit was better because having a huge amount of light immediately in front of the vehicle (where it actually does no good at speeds over 25 mph) made them feel good and gave them a sense of comfort. They felt they had better lights than they really did and the sense of comfort was just that - a sense and not reality.