Automotive

Testing proves the worth of Tesla's Bioweapon Defense Mode

Tesla put Bioweapon Defense Mode to the test in a controlled pollution bubble
Tesla put Bioweapon Defense Mode to the test in a controlled pollution bubble
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Tesla put Bioweapon Defense Mode to the test in a controlled pollution bubble
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Tesla put Bioweapon Defense Mode to the test in a controlled pollution bubble
The pollution levels in the cabin drop once Bioweapon Defense Mode is switched on
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The pollution levels in the cabin drop once Bioweapon Defense Mode is switched on
The system debuted on the Model X
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The system debuted on the Model X
The facelifted Tesla Model S also gets Bioweapon Defense Mode
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The facelifted Tesla Model S also gets Bioweapon Defense Mode
The Model S got the Bioweapon Defense System as a part of its midlife update
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The Model S got the Bioweapon Defense System as a part of its midlife update
The Model S could be considered the safest, fastest way for early adopters to get around
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The Model S could be considered the safest, fastest way for early adopters to get around

When Elon Musk announced the Tesla Model X would be fitted with a Bioweapon Defense Mode, many wondered what he knew that they didn't. Turns out the head of Tesla, SpaceX and PayPal wasn't worried about global chemical warfare – rather, the HEPA filters in the Model X and Model S are designed to protect us against the scourge of air pollution.

After testing the Bioweapon Defense Mode in the not-so-pristine real-world environments of rush-hour freeways and landfills in California and major cities in China, Tesla wanted to test the system in more controlled conditions. A Model X was parked in a climate bubble contaminated with 1,000 µg/m3 of fine, PM2.5 particulate matter. Considering the EPA's rating for "good" air quality is 12 µg/m3, that qualifies as an extreme amount of pollution.

The pollution levels in the cabin drop once Bioweapon Defense Mode is switched on
The pollution levels in the cabin drop once Bioweapon Defense Mode is switched on

According to the testers, it took under two minutes for the hospital-grade HEPA filtration system to bring pollutant levels down from 1,000 µg/m3 to an undetectable level, allowing them to take their gas masks off and breathe clean air within the cabin. Tesla also says the system even started to clean the air around the car, recording a 40 percent reduction in PM2.5 matter in the bubble once the interior was clear of pollutants.

This might seem like overkill, but it is responding to a growing problem. The World Health Organization says air pollution is a "major environmental health problem affecting everyone in developed and developing countries alike," and reducing air pollution levels can "reduce the burden of disease from stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases."

The preliminary testing suggests Tesla's Bioweapon Defense Mode will help address such problems, at least for Tesla owners, which is good news for early-adopting hypochondriacs keen to hum around in an exclusion zone.

Source: Tesla

9 comments
Einer
Well this is... odd. Its cool and all, but it seems to be an strange system for a car to have. Why would the car need to deal with this when the city should be. Could we just make an industrial, house sized system based on this tech and plop one in Beijing or New York? It'll solve a lot of problems.
Marco Gonzalez
@Einer what you propose made the term "industrial" seem short. To clean a city with such a strategy is more like a planetary scale, i.e. terra-forming
Milton
The real irony is that a lot of ICE cars have cabin filters. Filter the air coming in, but pollute the air by driving in the first place. Kind of like a snake eating its own tail.
Stephen N Russell
Lisc system for other auto makers to install & $$$ to Tesla alone.
eddiebee
Not surprised Tesla is the first to install a HEPA filter in a production car, that's awesome, but since it's a separate function than the traditional recirculate mode, either it has a cheaper cabin air filter that gets bypassed when in bio mode, or the cabin air is normally not filtered at all. Anyone know how it's implemented?
MattII
@Einer, multiple governments (both national and local) in multiple countries have, over many years, repeatedly failed to get to grips with the issue. Those filters will make the Model X a very saleable product. People who wouldn't normally have considered an electric car might do so now, while for those who were considering it, this might just seal the deal.
Daishi
This is probably great for people with pollen allergies and such too.
Kpar
The places that really need this (Beijing, for example) REALLY need this- both for the occupants of the vehicle, and for the folks choking on the exhaust of the (non-EPA compliant) ICE vehicles outside.
RamonZarat
@Einer Well this is... an odd comment. Its cool and all that you think cities SHOUILD take care of the problem, but the REALITY is they do not, at least no where near the extent they should. What then? Tesla should drop the Bioweapon Defense Mode becasue you think it's odd??? Would that make cities more responsible? Of course not and this is where the logic of your argument falls competitively flat. I always find it amusing that some people argue against Tesla every move based on hypothetical scenarios and what ifs... This Bioweapon Defense Mode is a fantastic and exclusive feature to Tesla, that's what it is.