Audi's anti-allergen air filter lets passengers breathe easy
To combat health risks posed by air pollution, car manufacturers are working to make sure we're able to breathe easy in their cars. Tesla has Bioweapon Defense Mode, and now Audi is getting on board with a new filter that removes particulates, gases and allergens from the air.
Audi hasn't gone quite as hard as Tesla with its naming strategy, but then again, Elon Musk has made it clear Tesla isn't really worried about chemical weapon attacks. Instead, the heavy-duty filters in Audi and Tesla cars are aimed at tackling the problem of air pollution, described as a "major environmental health problem affecting everyone in developed and developing countries alike" by the World Health Organization.
Rather than using a regular, two-layer filter, the system debuting in the new Q2 has a unique outer layer. In one variant, that layer cuts down on allergens using plant-derived substances called polyphenols, which attach themselves to the receptors on the allergens.
The other version of the filter uses a modified protein structure in the plant-derived substance to achieve the same effect.
Behind the outer layer of the filter is a special microfiber filter designed remove tiny particulates from the air, while gaseous-impurities are caught up in an activated carbon layer. Audi claims there is no impact on the air-flow received in the cabin, and says outside testing has proven the worth of the system.
We'd be interested to compare it with the HEPA filter on the Model X, which was parked in a climate bubble filled with an extreme amount of particulate matter and cleaned the interior air to a breathable level within two minutes.
Audi's air filtration system will debut on the Q2 when it launches later this year, and will be used in the A1, A3, Q3 and TT from June. Existing owners can have their cars retrofitted with the heavy-duty filter, too.