Safety is one of the oldest concerns for the automotive industry and today’s cars and trucks implement a wide array of products and systems with many sensors to make vehicles safer. With 1.25 million road traffic deaths globally in 2013 according to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is still a huge challenge ahead. Surprisingly, WHO also found that around 7 million people died annually in 2012 from air pollution exposure.
In addition to addressing automotive safety, Tesla has also provided increased protection for drivers and passengers against fine particulate matter and gaseous pollutants, as well as bacteria, viruses, pollen and mold spores by developing a HEPA filtration system for the passenger compartment. To test the effectiveness of the filter, Tesla engineers performed the usual road testing on California freeways and also in a controlled laboratory environment. They placed a Model X in a large bubble contaminated with extreme levels of pollution (1,000 µg/m³ of PM2.5 vs. the EPA’s acceptable air quality index limit of 12 µg/m³). With what the company calls the Bioweapon Defense Mode activated, sensors measured the air improvement in the passenger compartment. In less than two minutes, the HEPA filtration system reduced pollution from a dangerous 1,000 µg/m³ level to an undetectable level. The system also improved the air outside the car, reducing PM2.5 levels by 40%.