When I first heard of Tesla's 'Bioweapon Defence mode', it sounded like something out of a Science Fiction movie. If anything, though, it is a great talking point; for the media, and consumers. Kind of goes hand in hand with their ludicrous mode option for the Model S P80D.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), "An estimated 12.6 million people died as a result of living or working in an unhealthy environment in 2012." That is where the genius of Tesla kicks into gear. Tesla took inspiration from hospital air filtration systems, and other clean room environments and developed a HEPA filtration system for their new Model S and current Model X vehicle line.
Tesla claims that the system is, "capable of stripping the outside air of pollen, bacteria, and pollution" to "eliminate any trace of these particles. The end result is a filtration system hundreds of times more efficient than standard automotive filters."
HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. A HEPA filter is a type of mechanical air filter; it works by forcing air through a fine mesh that traps harmful particles such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and tobacco smoke.
To be considered a real HEPA filter, an air filter has to remove 99.97% of airborne particles measuring 0.3 micrometers in diameter. This type of HEPA filter is fine enough to catch bacteria like anthrax, plague, and most other bacteria, as well as most pollen, dust, and fungal spores.
Today Tesla tested their, Bioweapon Defense Mode, by placing a Model X inside a massive bubble that they then contaminated with, as Tesla puts it, "extreme levels of pollution (1,000 µg/m3 of PM2.5 vs. the EPA's "good" air quality index limit of 12 µg/m3)." Which is more than 20 times the pollution of Beijing, and Mexico City.
According to Tesla, "In less than two minutes, the HEPA filtration system had scrubbed the air in Model X, bringing pollution levels from an extremely dangerous 1,000 µg/m3 to levels so low as to be undetectable (below the noise floor) by our instruments, allowing us to remove our gas masks and breathe fresh air while sitting inside a bubble of pollution."
If that's not incredible enough. The vehicle began to clean the air outside the car as well, "reducing PM2.5 levels by 40%."
Frankly, I would like to see the test done in an independent lab, but marketing ploy or not, that is pretty impressive for a vehicle, and a company that is only been in operation for a few years.
Way to go Tesla!
Also published on Medium.