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Tesla actually tested its Bioweapon Defense Mode HEPA filter

We'd planned on doing this test ourselves, but ricin and willing interns are harder to come by than you might think.


When Tesla put a medical-grade HEPA filtration system in its Model X (and then its refreshed Model S), most people thought it was a cute little nod to the power of the filter, no different than other marketing-speak. But Tesla actually ran some tests on its system, and the company claims that Bioweapons Defense Mode, as it's called, actually works as the name suggests.

To test its system, Tesla placed a Model X inside a sealed bubble with "extreme levels" of pollution (1,000 µg/m3 of particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, considered fine particulate), or roughly 20 times the pollution concentration of Beijing. It's unknown exactly what kind of pollution Tesla used, aside from particle size.

After closing the door and activating the HEPA filter, Tesla found that the system brought pollution levels into the undetectable range in less than two minutes while the bubble remained filled with pollution. The company also claims that the filter went on to scrub the air outside the car, dropping particulate concentration by 40 percent.

Next, Tesla will attempt to teach its car how to play Trivial Pursuit.

Here's Tesla's graph, showing the claimed scrubbing ability of its HEPA filtration system.