“You can literally survive a military grade bio attack by sitting in your car”, says Tesla after the electric vehicle firm tested its HEPA air filter to extremes. It seems that the Bio-weapon Defence Mode available on the likes of Tesla’s Model X is more than just marketing hyperbole.
As air pollution is an increasingly talked about topic on the environmental agenda, Tesla has designed its Model S and Model X EVs to not only produce no tailpipe emissions, but to actually clean up the air in and around their cars.
Inspired by air filtration systems from hospitals and the space industry, Tesla’s HEPA filtration system can remove pollen, bacteria and pollution from the surrounding environment before they enter the cabin – perfect for hypochondriacal environmentalists suffering from hayfever everywhere.
In all seriousness though, air quality has a huge impact on everyday life and is considered by the World Health Organisation as the world’s largest single environmental health risk.
So to test the efficiency of its system, Tesla decided to seal a Model X in a plastic bubble and pump the space with extreme levels of air pollution. The US Environmental Protection Agency classes air with 12 µg/m3 of PM2.5 (Particulate Matter) as “good”. Tesla’s test bubble levels read 1,000 µg/m3 of MP2.5.
In a statement taken from a science fiction film, Tesla’s report states “We then closed the falcon doors and activated Bio weapon Defence Mode.” In less than two minutes, the HEPA system had filtered the air inside the Model X from highly toxic to “levels so low as to be undetectable”. This allowed the brave souls inside to remove their gas masks and sit in the car surrounded by the bubble of pollution.
The occupants of a Tesla are not the only ones to benefit from the HEPA filter as it began to clean the air outside too, reducing PM2.5 levels by 40 per cent.
Image and graph courtesy of Tesla Motors