Tesla’s Bioweapon Defense Mode, despite its melodramatic name, will actually protect drivers and passengers from a variety of exterior threats. It's made to filter out all kinds of potentially dangerous particles in the air, such as exhaust fumes, smoke, allergies, airborne diseases, and anything other hazardous elements.
Elon Musk unveils Biodefense Mode 2019 (Source: YouTube)
A HEPA air filter and some ingenious HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) work are responsible for this lung-protection capabilities. The United States Department of Energy established HEPA, or High Efficiency Particulate Air, as a standard for air filters. A filter must be able to stop 99.97 percent of particles with a diameter of 0.3 micrometres in order to meet the criteria.
Human hair has a diameter of 17 to 181 micrometres, which gives you an indication of how little that is. The thickness of a piece of paper can range from 70 to 180 micrometres.
And if a HEPA Air filter prevents 99.97 percent of all particles 0.3 micrometres in diameter, it's almost certain to stop all of the larger particles breezing by a vehicle, such as dust, smoke, and fumes.
The distinction between a regular air filter and a HEPA filter is significant. When travelling through locations with poor air quality, such as stop-and-go highway traffic, wildfires, and foul-smelling agricultural farms, your lungs will detect a difference.
In a Tesla vehicle, to use the HEPA filter, you must activate Bioweapon Defense Mode, which works swiftly to expel all pollutants from the automobile and keep them out.
As stated in the Tesla owner’s manual:
When selected, outside air is filtered through the medical-grade HEPA filter in addition to secondary air filtration systems. Both the HEPA air filter and secondary filtration system also contain activated carbon to remove a broad spectrum of odors and gasses. When you engage Bioweapon Defense Mode, the fan operates at the highest speed. In addition, positive pressure inside the cabin minimizes the amount of outside air that can leak into the vehicle.
In a practical sense, it gets a little louder inside the car while Bioweapon Defense Mode is running. Keeping the fan at max speed ensures quick circulation to remove pollutants and helps to maintain the positive-pressure environment—an element taken from hospitals to help prevent the spread of pollutants and pathogens into rooms with vulnerable patients.
In essence, the car is pressurised in relation to the outside environment, similar to how an aeroplane is pressurised at altitude. The Tesla, on the other hand, is just minimally pressured, hardly enough for the occupants to notice—just enough to cause the atmosphere within the car to desire to push air out rather than sucking it in.
Passengers are shielded from pollutants, germs, and anything else in the air outside the car because air is only allowed in through the filtering system. The system is also extremely effective. Before releasing the technology, Tesla conducted a test to demonstrate its capability and show off the system.
Tesla's Bioweapon Defense Mode Testing (Source: Tesla)
It encased a Model X in an inflatable bubble packed with pollution well exceeding the EPA's definition of "hazardous" and activated Bioweapon Defense Mode. The air inside the automobile shifted from dangerous to safe within the EPA's "Good" rating in just two minutes—and this was an overdone test with pollution much beyond what anyone is likely to encounter in real life.
So how do you get the Biodefense Weapon on your Tesla?
The HEPA air filter was originally supplied as part of Tesla's Premium Upgrades Package in the Model X and new front fascia Model S models made after April 2016. In July 2018, the equipment was declared standard on both vehicles.
Look at your Tesla's HVAC control screen to see whether it has bioweapon defensive mode. You've got it if this biohazard symbol is present. If your vehicle lacks a HEPA filter, you can purchase a retrofit from Talsem's website.