Detroit — Automotive lighting has gone from a functional necessity to a styling cue for headlights, taillights and even interior lighting.
Now Honda Motor Co.'s Acura division is looking at new territory: The center high mounted stop lamp, or CHMSL.
The CHMSL, pronounced “chim-sel” has been a government requirement since 1986. As the name suggests, it's a brake light mounted higher up in the car, typically just above or below the rear windshield.
With advances in LED lighting, automakers have transitioned the CHMSL from just a black box on the rear package shelf in the back of the car to an integrated part of spoilers or other exterior trim.
With its Precision Concept, introduced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Jan. 12, Acura debuted a CHMSL that becomes what Global Creative Director Dave Marek called “a sculptural element, piercing the rear glass, then flowing down to help form the structure of the rear headrests.”
The CHMSL becomes a narrow vertical line, rather than the horizontal band.
It makes sense to do something new with this light, much as other lights have been a part of cars now on the road.
“It's so flexible, the size of it and that you can do a lot of things with it that you couldn't do before,” Marek said in an interview on the show floor just after the concept's unveiling. “The idea is that it is celebrated, not just saying that we have to hide it, but using it as a design element. That's the key.”
The Precision Concept isn't tied to an exact upcoming vehicle. Instead, it is designed to represent what Acura intends to use as its “styling intent” for its products in the coming years.