Model S & X Bioweapon Defense Mode Tested By Tesla

2 years ago by Eric Loveday 58

Bioweapon Defense Mode Tested By Tesla

Bioweapon Defense Mode Tested By Tesla

When Tesla first launched the Model X, the automaker really played up its HEPA filtration Bioweapon Defense Mode.

Skeptics didn’t believe the hype, but when tested in Manhattan, the results seemed positive.

In an effort to silence the skeptics once and for all, Tesla put Bioweapon Defense Mode through a battery of tests.

Update:  Tesla has also released a short video on the Bio Defense Mode in action (details/video here)

Model X Inside The Bubble

Model X Inside The Bubble

In a post on Tesla’s site just moments ago, the automaker revealed its findings from extensive testing of the Model X & S filtration system:

“The air filtration system was put to the test in real-world environments from California freeways during rush hour, to smelly marshes, landfills, and cow pastures in the central valley of California, to major cities in China. We wanted to ensure that it captured fine particulate matter and gaseous pollutants, as well as bacteria, viruses, pollen and mold spores.”

“We then decided to take things a step further and test the complete system as we would on the road, but in an environment where we could precisely control and carefully monitor atmospheric conditions. A Model X was placed in a large bubble contaminated with extreme levels of pollution (1,000 µg/m3 of PM2.5 vs. the EPA’s “good” air quality index limit of 12 µg/m3). We then closed the falcon doors and activated Bioweapon Defense Mode.”

The findings from the various tests are posted below. As Tesla explains:

“The plot below shows the subsequent evolution in pollution levels inside the vehicle and inside the bubble. 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.”

“Not only did the vehicle system completely scrub the cabin air, but in the ensuing minutes, it began to vacuum the air outside the car as well, reducing PM2.5 levels by 40%. In other words, Bioweapon Defense Mode is not a marketing statement, it is real. You can literally survive a military grade bio attack by sitting in your car.”

Results

Results

So, it seems Tesla wasn’t using Bioweapon Defense Mode as a marketing ploy. Turns out it actually works as Tesla says it should.

Here’s Tesla’s post on Bioweapon Defense Mode testing in its entirety (note disclaimer in fine print at the end of the post):

Putting the Tesla HEPA Filter and Bioweapon Defense Mode to the Test

Air pollution has a significant and pervasive impact on public health. According to the World Health Organization, it is now considered “the world’s largest single environmental health risk,” with more than three million people dying every year as a result. This is more than twice the number of people that die in vehicle accidents each year.

Health and safety are important to us. Just as we’ve designed Model S and Model X to avoid collisions or protect their occupants when one happens, we felt compelled to protect them against the statistically more relevant hazard of air pollution*. Inspired by the air filtration systems used in hospitals, clean rooms, and the space industry, we developed a HEPA filtration system capable of stripping the outside air of pollen, bacteria, and pollution before they enter the cabin and systematically scrubbing the air inside the cabin to eliminate any trace of these particles. The end result is a filtration system hundreds of times more efficient than standard automotive filters, capable of providing the driver and her passengers with the best possible cabin air quality no matter what is happening in the environment around them.

The air filtration system was put to the test in real-world environments from California freeways during rush hour, to smelly marshes, landfills, and cow pastures in the central valley of California, to major cities in China. We wanted to ensure that it captured fine particulate matter and gaseous pollutants, as well as bacteria, viruses, pollen and mold spores.

We then decided to take things a step further and test the complete system as we would on the road, but in an environment where we could precisely control and carefully monitor atmospheric conditions. A Model X was placed in a large bubble contaminated with extreme levels of pollution (1,000 µg/m3 of PM2.5 vs. the EPA’s “good” air quality index limit of 12 µg/m3). We then closed the falcon doors and activated Bioweapon Defense Mode.

The plot below shows the subsequent evolution in pollution levels inside the vehicle and inside the bubble. 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.

Not only did the vehicle system completely scrub the cabin air, but in the ensuing minutes, it began to vacuum the air outside the car as well, reducing PM2.5 levels by 40%. In other words, Bioweapon Defense Mode is not a marketing statement, it is real. You can literally survive a military grade bio attack by sitting in your car.

Moreover, it will also clean the air outside your car, making things better for those around you. And while this test happened to be done with a Model X, the same would be true of the new Model S now in production.

Tesla will continue to improve the micro-geometry and chemical passivation defenses in the primary and secondary filters, which are easily replaceable, so this will get better the longer you own your car. Suggestions for improvement are welcome.

* According to the World Health Organization, average annual PM2.5 levels (the most dangerous form of pollution) reach 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, 17µg/m3 in Paris, and 16 µg/m3 in London. Based on the findings of a 2013 study conducted at Harvard, these levels of pollution would result in 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.

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58 responses to "Model S & X Bioweapon Defense Mode Tested By Tesla"

  1. Kdawg says:

    What will it cost to replace that Hepa filter?

    1. Timothy Vollmer says:

      Probably not cheap, but you could probably go many years without replacing it. The filter is huge, and the more square inches of filter per cubic foot of air filtered the less often you’ll have to change the filter.

      1. storky says:

        The cabin HEPA air filter on my 2001 Toyota Prius, located behind the glove box, cost $65 from the dealer. We replace it yearly.

        1. Yup says:

          Your Prius cabin air filter costs $6 on Amazon.

          1. Jamcl3 says:

            And the one from Amazon actual works or just looks similar?

            1. fotomoto says:

              You can buy genuine Toyota filters from Amazon or other sources for about $30 or so.

            2. sven says:

              For the 2001 Prius, the genuine Toyota cabin air filter (CAF) is thin polyester and very porous. The TYC knockoff is virtually identical.

              Toyota also sells a replacement Premium Charcoal cabin air filter (CAF). These charcoal filters come standard on Lexus models. The knockoffs on Amazon are as good or better (more charcoal than OEM) than Toyota filters.

              Both the Toyota and knockoff filters are flimsy and by design do not offer a tight fit, allowing air to easily passes around the outer edges of the filter. The paper filter has no frame, and the premium is a little sturdier with a frame on two sides.

              At a price of $65, the dealer is charging you about $40 to $50 of labor for literally a five minute job. It’s a dealer ripoff. You can very easily do it yourself with just a screwdriver.

              IIRC, the cost on Amazon for the Toyota filters is no cheaper than at the dealer parts counter: $18 for the standard CAF, and $29 for the Premium Charcoal CAF. The TYC knockoff standard filter is $6.36, while the knockoff Premium Charcoal can be had for as low as $12.

              Use this PDF to find the Toyota part number for your cabin air filter and enter it in the Amazon search box:
              http://www.toyota.com/toyota-owners-online-theme/pdf/05_CabinAirFilters2014-final.pdf

              Here is a shaky YouTube video showing how to change a CAF on a 2002 Prius:
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_QzIpPpKSY

        2. Foo says:

          $65 for a $6 filter. Ah yes, this must be the car dealer looking out for the customer’s best interest and “getting them the best deal”.

          It doesn’t excuse the stealerships, but half of the problem is gullible customers, who don’t even do the research.

    2. I want to see INDEPENDENT made tests with 3, 6 and 10 month old filters.

      1. floydboy says:

        Why? If the results were good’ you’d just say it was fake, to maintain your rather consistent anti-Tesla meme.

      2. beta995 says:

        Of BMW & Mercedes?
        Or just Tesla.

        1. Big Solar says:

          BMWs and Mercedes wont be available as they are being repaired

  2. SparkEV says:

    For having kids in the car, I don’t think this is good. There was some study few years ago that kids growing up in (more) sterile environment had health issues such as more cases of asthma. It could be that such clean environments shield kids’ immune system from exercising fully. You wouldn’t want to have kids in the sewer, but too clean of an environment may not be a good thing.

    1. buu says:

      you shouldn’t keep kids in any car for 24/7

      1. Anon says:

        Ahahahaha!!! 😀

    2. jelloslug says:

      30 minutes a day not breathing exhaust fumes is not going to kill them. If you want to do something really positive for kids immune systems get rid of all the hand sanitizer that is dolled out everywhere.

      1. sveno says:

        +1

        the bioweapon defence mode is to make air breathable and is definitely marketed for cities like Beijing. You wouldn’t use it in the countryside.

        1. storky says:

          . . . unless you are sensitive to pollen, mold and grasses.

    3. VazzedUp says:

      Happily you only have to turn it on when needed. Wonder if it works when one of the kids (or dog) drops an inevitable bean bomb

      1. heisenberghtbacktotheroots says:

        From the graph I read that at t=-3.5 minutes the person sitting inside the model X farted heavily… (Very heavily) Thus producing additional contamination inside the bubble (It is evident that his fart released a lot of dust from the seat and this dust was thereafter moved out of the car due to the overpressure produced by that ultra massive fart.)

        At t=0 the test person lost conciousness due to the high concentrations of H2S released from his very own ass, he fell on the “measurement system” installed inside the car destroying the highly sophisticated system which resulted in the exponential decay of the signal (The capacitor discharged…).

        After 4 minutes the fun was over.

        That nasty PM2.5 particles which were released from the seat by that giant fart started to settle due to gravitational effects. (They fell to earth…) No one in the team of highly sophisticated tesla scientists had any explanation for that loss of contamination in the bubble (As they had forgotten to turn on biodefense mode because everyone was ROTFL due to that heavily stinking fart and the test person suffering from his own stupidness to EBBB (eat beans before bubble…)) So they came up with a great idea: “We could claim that it is the HEPA filter…” And so they did!

    4. Brent says:

      the sterile environment concern has to do with the balance of bacterial flora, mainly on your skin and in your gut, it has nothing to do with breathing cleaner air. There is no practical down side to breathing cleaner less polluted air.

    5. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “There was some study few years ago that kids growing up in (more) sterile environment had health issues such as more cases of asthma.”

      I think we need to draw a very clear distinction between exposing our kids to the great outdoors, as well as a wide variety of foods, when they’re quite young… and having kids forced to breathe gasoline and diesel fumes for an hour or more a day riding in cars and school buses. The latter of which have tested for dangerously high levels of diesel fumes, which according to some is a large part of why cases of asthma have skyrocketed in the latest generation.

      By all means, encourage your kid to play in the dirt in your public park and/or make mud pies in your back yard. By all means, don’t obsess with wiping down every surface the kid touches with antibacterial soap. By all means, do ignore those stupid commercials that show huge colonies of bacteria on everything in your home.

      But forcing your child to to breathe in noxious and carcinogenic fumes from gasoline and (especially) diesel exhaust, for an hour a day or even more when riding in cars and buses, is downright dangerous to their health.

    6. Dragon says:

      It’s good for the immune system to expose kids to bacteria and viruses by not using antibacterial everything or home schooling them. But I highly doubt it’s good for their immune system to expose them to car exhaust and fine particulate matter.

      1. SparkEV says:

        Fine particulate matter includes bacteria and viruses. Car ride is one place where kids are exposed to great outdoors; yes, it’s a joke but with a hint of truth.

        As a side point, what’s wrong with today’s kids? They don’t want to get their hands dirty.

    7. Samwise says:

      You don’t build up immunity to particulates. You just build up particulates…

  3. ffbj says:

    They should have put a running VW tdi in the bubble with the Tesla, just for giggles.

    1. Ken-3 says:

      +10

    2. Vexar says:

      I was thinking the same thing: where did they get the pollution?

    3. Mister G says:

      YES LOL

    4. beta995 says:

      School Buses Across the USA.
      Electric Buses not catching on fast enough.

  4. Speculawyer says:

    The boy in the Bubble!

    1. Anon says:

      Was thinking the same thing, but now he’s “The Man in The Model X”. 😉

    2. sven says:

      The Tesla in the stock bubble!

      /s

      Just kidding 😉

  5. Alaa says:

    That is a good excuse to take a ride to get some FRESH AIR.

  6. Mister G says:

    Will Model 3 be equipped with biodefense mode?

  7. CDAVIS says:

    Here is another test of Model X Bioweapon-Defense-Mode (warning NSFW):

    1. ffbj says:

      The picture on the ones guys T-Shirt should be of Humphrey Bogart.

  8. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    The test of a car sitting still inside a plastic bubble seems rather pointless to me. The “bioweapon defense mode” isn’t meant to work on a car sitting still; it’s meant to work on a car driving down the road, quite possibly at highway speed, with air pressure building up on the front of the car and forcing outside air into seams and holes in the passenger compartment, including door and window seams.

    As someone with allergies, I appreciate that it would benefit me to drive such a car. But the idea that it could actually save you in the event of a bioweapon attack is simply silly, and even as a Tesla fan I find it rather irritating that Tesla keeps trying to convince everyone that this B.S. is true.

    Dear Tesla Motors: You’ve got cars that have won more “Best of the Year” awards and ratings than any other car in history. You’ve even got multiple reviews saying the Model S is the best car ever made! So why lower your brand’s image by hyping your cars with this sort of cabbage? I think it’s counter-productive. Sticking to actual facts will serve your image better.

    1. Nick says:

      I completely disagree and find this test very useful and informative.

      Real data trumps idle speculation about driving at speed 6 days a week and twice on Sunday.

      1. floydboy says:

        I completely AGREE with you on this one Nick. If Pushmi has actual evidence in opposition to Tesla’s findings, I’ll be glad to check it out.

        If the cabin air quality can be brought to these levels, particularly in dense rush hour traffic, then it is indeed something to crow about.

        1. Nemo says:

          I don’t think it’s the tests he’s objecting to, or the feature — just the actual “bioweapon defense” name, and moreso, the insistence that yes, you really could depend on the car to survive such an attack.

          Personally I think the name is kind of cute (like “ludicrous speed”), but to claim that it really would defend against bioweapons is indeed silly in a bad way.

          1. Nick says:

            Why?

    2. Doug says:

      bio weapon defense mode creates positive pressure so that at speed or standing still all the air comes in through the air intake that passes through the filter. Those seams and cracks you are talking about become the exit path for the filtered air, not an intake.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Positive pressure works great in a hermetically sealed room inside a building, where it’s sheltered from winds by the outer walls.

        Not so great when it’s in a car moving down the road at 60-70 miles per hour! Put that same room on a flatbed trailer, and send it down the road at 60 MPH, and let’s see how well it maintains its positive pressure integrity. Let’s apply some critical thinking here, hmmm?

        And the idea that I need to present “proof” that your car isn’t really airtight, is downright silly. If cars were actually airtight, anyone sitting in one for hours would die due to lack of oxygen. Plenty of air and oxygen — seeps in thru seams. Your door seals and window seals may be watertight, but they’re not intended to be airtight. And nobody who knows about such things would claim otherwise.

        1. floydboy says:

          You don’t need a hermetically sealed environment for positive pressure to be effective. As a matter of fact, you don’t want a a hermetically sealed cabin if you’re building up pressure inside.

          High cabin pressures would become uncomfortable or even unbearable for the occupants. You’re merely trying to get cabin pressure SLIGHTLY above atmospheric to force air out of the myriad openings in the car, as Doug iterated before.

          Then it becomes a matter of controlling airflow. If you can get all of the incoming airflow through the filter(this is the debatable part)without any air bypassing the filter, then you may have some measure of biohazard protection IF the filter is fine enough.

          On the other hand, if even minute amounts of air get around the filter and is blown into the cabin, then all you have is a really good air cleaner.

        2. Priusmaniac says:

          I don’t know what a Model X will be able to do against a biological attack but for exactly such situations the military are using a variant of the Stryker, the M1135 NBCRV and apart from being armored it has just a single rubber seal and is also relying on internal over pressure for protection. Of course the crew inside has the possibility to increase their protection by wearing individual suits, boots, gloves and mask but basically over pressure looks like the major line of defense.
          On the argument of dynamic airspeed providing pressure in the seams, the result will depend on the speed and the magnitude of overpressure being created in the cabin. The worse case scenario for a seam is one just in the front of the vehicle, in that scenario we have existing curves from pitot tubes that indicate at 75 mph an overpressure of 545 Pa or 0.54 % of atmospheric pressure. http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/dynamic-pressure-d_1037.html If the Model X present an over pressure higher than 545 Pa, technically it should be safe from seam leaks up to 75 mph. But at a panic speed of 150 mph, to get away as fast as possible, the dynamic pressure increase to 2178 Pa or 2.15 % of atmospheric pressure which is likely more than the Model X habitat can bare.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Priusmaniac said:

            “…we have existing curves from pitot tubes that indicate at 75 mph an overpressure of 545 Pa or 0.54 % of atmospheric pressure.”

            Thank you for providing an actual figure for discussion.

            Sure, I have no problem believing that a 0.54 atmospheric overpressure is adequate to provide a real bioweapon defense for an enclosed military vehicle with proper seals, even when that vehicle is traveling at highway speed. But I do not, repeat not, believe the Model S or X’s ventilation fan can provide anywhere near that kind of overpressure! Car ventilation fans are not designed to provide that much force, unlike whatever pressure system they’re using in that military modified Stryker vehicle.

            And anyway, with the scientific method, the burden of proof is not on a skeptic like me to disprove a claim. The burden of proof is on the claimant; the skeptic merely needs to show the claim lacks robustness in one or more areas. Tesla has demonstrated that yes, its air filter system does an excellent job of filtering most particles out of the air, not that we doubted that.

            But this is not adequate to prove the claim of an effective defense against a bioweapon. As floydboy said above: “if even minute amounts of air get around the filter and [are] blown into the cabin, then all you have is a really good air cleaner.” Perhaps my original post would have been more clear if I had stated that point explicitly.

            Tesla’s test does not rise to the level of proving that not even minute amounts of air can get into the cabin without passing thru the HEPA filter. That test, as described, doesn’t even prove that such minute amounts of air can’t get into the cabin even with the car sitting still in an enclosed space with no wind, let alone moving down the road at highway speed.

            1. Priusmaniac says:

              Their objective is probably not to resist a true bio attack but the 0.54% (not 0.54 atmosphere which would blow open even the Stryker) would indeed prevent outside unfiltered air from penetrating in the car at 75 mph and, if their filter is sealed and not leaking, they would have an actual chance.
              If they are holding on it, perhaps they will end up going on the other side of the bay and put the car in a wind tunnel to test at speed with the same 2.5 PM pollutant and perhaps with a benign biological strain to check if it get detected in the car. Seeing the X in a Nasa wind tunnel would sure make a terrific view.

    3. heisenberghtbacktotheroots says:

      I completely agree and find this “test” very useless and at least questionable.

      Real data… I have seen real data… Somehow I have that strange feeling when seeing that graph… Hmmm… Ahhh!!! Marketing???

      Given that we see “real data”, this “test” does not in any way prove that one would survive a “military grade bioweapon attack” (Anyway what is the definition of a military grade bioweapon attack… And why on earth should I want to survive such an unlikely scenario? Just to be one of those Model X owners that will populate the brave new world???)

      As you correctly said, those conditions in that bubble are very, very different to those in a driving situation (and extremely different to a driving situation during a hypothetical military grade bioweapon attack…)).

      Sorry Nick. Sorry Floydboy. This was just marketing and you failed to see it.

      Hey TESLA, will we survive a NUCLEAR MELTDOWWN due to that panoramic view roof?

      It’s nice that that car can make air cleaner, but come on… you really don’t need that kind of (how can I say that…)

      Model 4 will most likely prevent cancer. And make you smart. TESLA! STOP! STOP! STOP!

      Hell! Tesla. Thanks for that laugh! Thanks for that DATA!!!

      1. ffbj says:

        You said: “Hey TESLA, will we survive a NUCLEAR MELTDOWWN due to that panoramic view roof?”

        Now you are just being silly but one cool thing would be you would get a spectacular view of the fireball just before it engulfed you.

      2. floydboy says:

        You’re saying Tesla made up this data? To what end? Especially if it can easily confirmed or refuted by duplication.

        If you take issue with someone’s data, then challenge it with something more than mere assertion that the data is invalid.

        In the meantime I’m going to have to go with their data in the absence of data to the contrary.

    4. Steven says:

      Dude, at speed, all air entering the car/CUV is sucked in through that filter. The cabins is pressurized with clean air. Within minutes, all unfiltered air is blown out through cracks and holes. This is big for those that live in heavily polluted cities. If your life is going to on average be 24-8 months depending on the city, shorter, yeah, filter the crap out of that air I’m breathing while driving or sitting in traffic.

      It’s funny, you don’t realize how much gas cars stink until you desensitize yourself to it by driving electric for a while. When I sit in traffic or am around the wife’s dino burner, I smell it, and I never did before when I had an F-150. It’s like having bad breath, your body stops reporting the stench since you smell it every minute of every day.

      1. Foo says:

        ^^^^
        this

  9. Hykyrjoe says:

    What about pollution from INSIDE the vehicle? Like excess cologne or perfume.. or gulp…. humans farting.. will it remove any stench produced from inside as well as that from outside? On the outside I am more interested in removing diesel stink , soot, and airborne pollutants from trucks and buses more than the smell of a skunk or a cow.. how does it do with diesel pollution? I need definitive proof .. and why can’t I just upgrade to a hepa filter in my current Tesla to get this advantage if indeed there is one at all? Find my web page by clicking twice on my name to load my page @ Nj gasprices.com

    1. ZeGermanz says:

      Eggactly!! This is the kind of protection we REALLY need.

  10. Izn't obviouz says:

    The relevant test is missing. If you rip a killer, how long until breathable?!?

    1. floydboy says:

      LOL! Two minutes seems to be the timeline to clean air, how long can you hold your breath!