Sparesbox Blog

Bioweapon Defense Mode: Tesla’s Air Filtration System

By Linda Quan

Tue Oct 15 2019

It’s pretty obvious that Elon Musk has an inclination for tongue-in-cheek names. Take, for example, his tunnel construction company, aptly named “The Boring Company”, and his “Not A Flamethrower” which (surprise surprise) is a flamethrower. Therefore, it shouldn’t shock anyone that Tesla’s cabin air filtration system has a mode named “Bioweapon Defense Mode”.  

It’s not an inaccurate descriptor, either. When Tesla’s Bioweapon Defense Mode is activated, the air filter system is capable of scrubbing extreme quantities of air pollution, bringing it down from deadly levels to a level even cleaner than mountain air.

The Bioweapon Defense Mode has also made headlines amid the brutal ongoing California wildfires. Numerous Tesla owners have sung praises for the air filtration system, which has made breathing much easier for those with underlying respiratory conditions like asthma.

To give some insight into how it works, let’s take a look at the science behind it. Air pollution is measured in micrograms per metre cubed (µg/m3, which is equivalent to parts per billion) of PM2.5 (which are particles smaller than 2.5 micrometres in diameter). PM2.5 particles are small enough to be breathed deep into our lungs and cause a large range of health problems including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

During wildfires, PM2.5 levels can reach 90 µg/m3 and higher. Anything above 40 µg/m3 is considered unhealthy, and anything over 250 µg/m3 is extremely hazardous. Tesla put their HEPA air filter and the Bioweapon Defense Mode to the test in 2016 by filling a controlled space with 1000 µg/m3-contaminated air and allowing a Tesla Model X to run Bioweapon Defense Mode inside. Interestingly, it took less than two minutes to reduce the pollution to levels so low that they were virtually undetectable. And not only that, the system began to clean the air outside the car too – an impressive feat, to say the least.

The main reason why Tesla’s HEPA air filter system is so effective at what it does is due to its size, which is 10 times the size of a normal air filter. Because of this, it “removes 99.97% of fine particulate matter and gaseous pollutants, as well as bacteria, viruses, pollen and mold spores.”

As Tesla’s website puts it, “You can literally survive a military grade bio attack by sitting in your car.” So, in true Musk style, it looks like Bioweapon Defense Mode is indeed a fitting name.

At the moment, Tesla’s most advanced HEPA air filtration system and Bioweapon Defense Mode is only available on newer Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles. However, if you’re not a Tesla owner, you’ll find a great range of cabin air filters at Sparesbox from premium brands such as K&N Filters, Ryco Filters, Wesfil and MANN Filter that will do wonders to your car’s air quality.

We also stock air filters that will help protect your car’s engine from contaminants and extend its life, saving you money in the long run. So if you’re in the market for a new air filter, stop by our website and check out our huge range of engine air filters and cabin air filters here!