Tesla’s “Bioweapon Defense Mode” Is As Effective As…A 2010 Mazda?

ओह! यह पोस्ट हिन्दी में उपलब्ध नही हैं।अंग्रेजी संस्करण के हेतु यहाँ क्लिक करे l

Thomas Talhelm

Thomas is an Associate Professor of Behavior Science at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the founder of Smart Air, a social enterprise to help people in China breathe clean air without shelling out thousands of dollars for expensive purifiers.

4 thoughts on “Tesla’s “Bioweapon Defense Mode” Is As Effective As…A 2010 Mazda?

  1. Thomas, this is of course very interesting, and the advice to run the AC system on recirculate is always key. However, I think we might be slightly glossing over one key point with regard to usage patterns or benefits to the Tesla HEPA system. Car cabins can become like quasi gas chambers, and though the recirculate function allows the AC system – I believe in most cars, though my anecdotal testing experience is small – with a standard car AC filter, to dramatically cut the down particulate levels in a reasonably short period, the flip side is that CO2 rises fast and remains trapped. Not with the HEPA system. For a single occupant, with closed windows, CO2 rises over 1000ppm in a handful of minutes, and proceeds 2000, 3000 in relatively short order. At those levels, drowsiness/alertness, particularly on longer drives, can be an issue. If coupled with the notion that we should keep windows up and sealed for protection from the air, this can certainly exacerbate the problem. The Tesla system, which I do believe should become more of a standard (but that would incriminate auto manufacturers, basically stating their non-EV product is inherently toxic), allows us to keep CO2 vs oxygen levels within a very healthy/fresh spectrum. Was Tesla misleading? I don’t know. Most likely not. Car cabins are notoriously bad (witness a string of articles in the Guardian and on the BBC), when not running the AC fan hard on recirculate. Certainly the carbon element, coping with other gasses, has not been given enough play.

  2. Re: CO2 level build-up claimed above.
    I have no conflicts or agenda other than I want us all to have clean air to breathe, but I have to question that CO2 level rises to dangerous levels with air on recirculate. I, and I imagine many others have drive hundreds of miles with the AC on high, recirculating, in my car, alone (2004 Honda Civic). If your statement is reflective of reality then why have I not passed out? Further, why are there not thousands of deaths annually from CO2 drowsiness caused crashes. Is it possible that all cars are pulling in some fresh air even on recirculate? Doesn’t Tesla’s own data suggest that there is in fact some pulling in of outside air?

    1. Great thoughts Matthew, you’re right to point out that in conventional cars when switched to ‘recirculate’ mode for a long period of time, we are still able to survive! The answer may well be that like you said, all cars do still bring in at least some levels of outside air to negate any CO2 level build up. This is another great study; it will be good to see how recirculate mode affects CO2 levels and PM2.5 levels, and to find out if there is a balance of the two for a conventional car.

      Aside: Some people often think being trapped in a car may starve us of oxygen, but as is correctly pointed out here and above, it’s CO2 that is the big danger. We published an article on CO2 vs oxygen levels in our knowledge base, explaining this in more detail.

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