Tesla tests its HEPA Filter and “Bioweapon Defense Mode” under extreme conditions of 1,000 µg/m3 of PM2.5
At the launch of the Model X, Elon Musk touched on the vehicle’s oversized HEPA filters, claiming that “We can’t even detect any viruses or bacteria or spores. Zero come through. If there is ever an apocalyptic scenario, just press the bioweapon defense mode button.” (Earlier post.) While bioweapons experts were skeptical of the full scope of the claim, Tesla has gone on to demonstrate that the filter is very effective against extreme concentrations of PM2.5 particles.
Tesla placed a Model X in a large bubble contaminated with 1,000 µg/m3 of PM2.5; the EPA’s “good” air quality index has a limit of 12 µg/m3. Tesla engineers closed the doors and activated Bioweapon Defense Mode.
In less than two minutes, the HEPA filtration system had scrubbed the air in Model X, bringing pollution levels from 1,000 µg/m3 to levels so low as to be undetectable by the instruments.
Not only did the vehicle system completely scrub the cabin air, but in the ensuing minutes, it began to vacuum the air outside the car as well, reducing PM2.5 levels by 40%.
Tesla said it will continue to improve the micro-geometry and chemical passivation defenses in the primary and secondary filters, which are easily replaceable.