Tesla’s Model S and Model X vehicles already boast a number of high-tech features like “ludicrous mode,” which takes them from 0 to 60 mph in just a few seconds, and self-driving mode.
But now, the luxury electric car maker is testing its bioweapon defense mode, designed to protect drivers from toxic air that, the company says, could kill them.
Tesla’s vehicles already feature high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters which filter air coming into the vehicle of pollen, bacteria, and pollution and “systematically scrubs the air inside the cabin to eliminate any trace of these particles,” according to Tesla. Bioweapon defense mode is built into that filter system.
“Bioweapon Defense Mode is not a marketing statement, it is real,” read a blog post about the post-apocalyptic sounding feature.
“You can literally survive a military grade bio attack by sitting in your car.”
To see if the feature could live up to such large claims, the company recently put bioweapon defense mode to the test.
According to Tesla’s blog, researchers put a Model X in a car-sized bubble and exposed it to “extreme levels of pollution” – about 100 times more contaminated than what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies as “good.”
They then closed the vehicle’s doors and activated bioweapon defense mode – with people inside.
“In less than two minutes, the HEPA filtration system had scrubbed the air in the Model X, bringing pollution levels from an extremely dangerous 1,000 micrograms per cubic metre, 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,” read the blog.
Of course, it’s unclear just how long someone would be able to survive inside the car with this system in the event of an actual bioweapon attack; however, there are primary and secondary filters within the system, according to Tesla.
It’s also unclear whether something as sophisticated as anthrax could be filtered through the system.
But although Tesla’s claims that a car could save you from a military-grade bioweapon attack seem extreme, the feature could be useful to those with health conditions and anyone living in highly polluted areas, like China.