In a new demo video on YouTube, Tesla shared how its High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter is keeping the cabin air of its vehicles clean. Tesla added that its HEPA filter is inspired by air filtration systems used in hospitals, clean rooms, and the aerospace industry and that it removes 99,97% of airborne particulates, including smoke, bacteria, and pollen.
Tesla stated in the video description:
“The HEPA filtration system is active whenever climate control is pulling in outside air. For extreme conditions, Bioweapon Defense Mode positively pressurizes your cabin. This prevents pollutants from leaking in as you drive, as all air is filtered through the HEPA and gas media filters. Every new Model Y, S, and X comes standard with a HEPA filter and Bioweapon Defense Mode.”
In the demo, which is led by Zackary, the team placed two vehicles inside separate bubble-like domes for a side-by-side comparison. David, a thermal systems engineer at Tesla, spoke about air pollution.
“Normally air pollution, you can’t really see it. You can’t really see how bad it is so we’re trying to use this to demonstrate it visually.” (This’ being a smoke grenade.)
David further explained that the smoke grenade would be used to test the HEPA filter installed in the car and show the effectiveness of Tesla’s HEPA filter compared with a normal vehicle without one. Once Tesla’s Bioweapon Defense Mode is activated, it pressurizes the cabin as the smoke is released. In the demonstration, the HEPA filter easily takes out the smoke particles compared with the other car.
“No particulate in the car. The car is clean.”
After the smoke clears out, one of the employees shows how to take out the filter, and you can see the red on them.
“The great thing about a HEPA filter is how well it filters out very, very find particles like PM2.5 and even smaller. And those can be very bad because they can be small enough that they get into lungs and stay in your body.”
One thing Tesla employees emphasized in the video is that every year, at least four million people die based on exposure to bad air quality. In February 2021, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) stated that fossil fuel air pollution kills one in five people and cited a study published in Environmental Research which noted that fine particulate matter, which comes from burning fossil fuels, was responsible for around 8.7 million deaths globally in 2018. To put that number in perspective, this is around the same number of people living in New York City or London.
The NRDC also noted that PM2.5 kills more people each year than HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria combined.
Neelu Tummala, an ear, nose, and throat doctor at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, spoke of this invisible killer in an interview with The Guardian.
“We don’t appreciate that air pollution is an invisible killer. The air we breathe impacts everyone’s health particularly children, older individuals, those on low incomes, and people of color. Usually, people in urban areas have the worst impacts.”
In Tesla’s video, Zackary noted that the World Health Organization said that over 90% live in environments that have bad air quality and brought up Tesla’s focus on the importance of providing clean air to its customers.
“With wildfires in California and other extreme climate events happening worldwide, it’s really important to be able to provide clean air to everybody so that’s why we have a HEPA filter in our vehicles.”
The video below shared by the NRDC’s YouTube Channel in 2018 demonstrates in detail how air pollution kills. Although it’s over two years old, the information backs up Zackary’s statement, especially in regards to the four million people around the world who die from air pollution-related diseases. In the video, Brian Palmer explains how it kills.
This is something I personally try not to think about too much or else I get anxious. I live in Cancer Alley, an area of South Louisiana that is well known for its abundance of petrochemical plants that have polluted the air to the point that many residents, especially in St. James Parish, are affected. Hurricane Ida, which left me in the dark for about a week, only made things much worse.
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