During last night’s launch of the Tesla Model X electric SUV, Tesla CEO Elon Musk presented a feature heretofore unseen in any automobile, electric or otherwise: a HEPA-grade cabin air filter system.
HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance, and it’s a standard for particulate filtration set by the United States Department of Energy. In essence, it means that almost nothing unwanted is getting through to the cabin.
The primary cabin air filter in the Tesla Model X is roughly ten times the surface area of the filter in a typical car, and has a higher-quality composition, as well. Three separate carbon layers are present: one “universal” absorbent layer, one to filter out acidic gases, and one to filter out alkaline gases. Shockingly, even in the system’s basic operating mode, the Tesla Model X is hundreds of times better at filtering out bacteria, allergens, soot, and viruses than the typical car.
And then, there’s the jokingly named “Bio-Weapon Defense Mode,” which improves the Tesla Model X’s cabin air filtration even more. This makes the interior comparable to a hospital operating room in terms of contaminant levels, says Musk, and the folks at Tesla Motors failed to detect any viruses, bacteria, or spores in the cabin in this mode.
So, even if we don’t see any horrific apocalyptic scenarios arise within the midterm future, at the very least, the Tesla Model X could potentially make a crowded urban commute a whole lot more pleasant, and healthful.
At the most, the cabin air filtration system in the Tesla Model X could just be your last line of defense against a hypothetical future airborne zombifying contaminant.