Tesla Addresses Air Quality

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Tesla Addresses Air Quality

Gary S. Vasilash –

May 3, 2016

When it comes to Tesla, things like “Ludicrous Mode” have a certain “we’re-not-taking-ourselves-too-seriously” aspect to them. But the “Bioweapon Defense Mode,” the name of the HEPA air filtration system that’s used in the cabins of the Model S and the Model X sounds about as funny as your entire neighborhood suddenly being overrun by zombies.

“Bioweapon”? Sounds a bit extreme. Ludicrous, perhaps.

But Tesla has pointed out just how bad bad air really is.

The company cites figures from the World Health Organization on the amounts of PM2.5 levels—that’s particulate matter 2.5 micrometers in diameter—found in various cities around the world. The average annual figures for various cities are: 56 µg/m³ in Beijing, 25 µg/m³ in Mexico City, 21 µg/m³ in Hong Kong, 20 µg/m³ in Los Angeles, 20 µg/m³ in Berlin, 17 µg/m³ in Paris and 16 µg/m³ in London.

Which doesn’t mean a whole lot until you take into account that, again according to Tesla, a 2013 study conducted at Harvard indicates that people who live in those locales don’t live as long as they might were they not breathing in all of those particles: population-averaged life expectancy reductions of 23 months in Beijing, 10 months in Mexico City, 9 months in Hong Kong, 8 months in Berlin and Los Angeles, and 7 months in Paris and London.

In developing their system they put a Model X in a sealed container and filled said bag with 1,000 µg/m³ of PM2.5. They activated the Bioweapon Defense Mode and the results look like this:

Which is great for those who have the system in their Model S and Model X vehicles. But for the rest of us—particularly those in the aforementioned cities—bad air isn’t particularly funny.