Tesla’s Bioweapon Defense Mode is one of the company’s most talked about, but least understood features.
The feature, which debuted last September on the Model X, uses a system of large HEPA filters and chemical converters to filter out and neutralize harmful particulates and pollution in the car’s cabin.
According to Tesla, the system is designed to provide the passengers with the operating-room-quality air, even in some of the world’s most polluted cities. One way this has been interpreted is that the feature is only aimed at wealthy consumers in China.
Recently, Tesla put the feature to the test by parking a Model X SUV inside a giant plastic bubble with its Falcon-wing doors open.
The bubble and the car was then filled with extremely contaminated air that’s about 20-times more polluted that the average air quality in Beijing and Mexico City.
Wearing gas masks, Tesla employees got into the car then shut the doors and turned on the Bioweapon Defense Mode massive HEPA filters.
We’d like to see this test repeated by an independent lab, but according to Tesla the results were stunning.
“In less than two minutes, the HEPA filtration system had scrubbed the air in Model X, bringing pollution levels from an extremely dangerous 1,000 µg/m3 to levels so low as to be undetectable (below the noise floor) by our instruments, allowing us to remove our gas masks and breathe fresh air while sitting inside a bubble of pollution,” the company wrote on its blog.
In fact, the filters even began to filter the air outside of the car and reduced the particulate content inside the bubble by 40%.