When Elon Musk first introduced the Tela Model X’s “Bioweapon Defense Mode,” Tesla skeptics dismissed the feature as a gimmick or outright fraud.
For owners of the company’s electric cars currently affected by the raging wildfires in CA, though, Bioweapon Defense Mode has become an essential feature, allowing them and their passengers to breathe clean air despite the worsening air quality outside.
California is currently facing its most destructive fires in the state’s history. As of Friday, the northern California city of Paradise has already been lost to the blaze. More than 6,700 structures have also burned to the ground in northern CA’s Camp Fire on Thursday and Friday. At least nine people have perished against the onslaught of expanding wildfire, and more than 250,000 people have been forced out of their homes as well. Despite authorities’ best efforts, Los Angeles fire officials noted on Friday afternoon that the blaze remains “zero contained.”
Reports from members of the Tesla community living in areas affected by the wildfires have noted that their vehicle’s Bioweapon Defense Mode has effectively maintained the air quality inside their cars. One such owner, Andrei Bulu, even posted a couple of pictures on social media showing the air readings from inside and outside his Model X as he was driving through the Bay Area, which is being affected by the fire in Paradise. As illustrated by a Model X owner’s Twitter post, the air quality readings improve dramatically when his electric SUV’s windows were up and Bioweapon Defense Mode was enabled.
Tesla stated that Bioweapon Defense Mode is “100 times more effective than premium automotive filters, removing at least 99.97% of fine particulate matter and gaseous pollutants, as well as bacteria, viruses, pollen, and mold spores.”
The Bioweapon Defense Mode has already been tested in a controlled setting to disprove critics. An experiment was conducted to measure the efficacy of air filtration by holding a controlled test of a Model X inside a 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). Within two minutes, the Model X’s HEPA filtration system had scrubbed the air inside the all-electric SUV, and in the following minutes, even the air around the vehicle started getting cleaner.
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Casey Botticello is a partner at Black Edge Consulting. Black Edge Consulting is a strategic communications firm, specializing in online reputation management, digital marketing, and crisis management. Prior to founding Black Edge Consulting, he worked for BGR Group, a bipartisan lobbying and strategic communications firm.
Casey is the founder of the Cryptocurrency Alliance, an independent expenditure-only committee (Super PAC) dedicated to cryptocurrency and blockchain advocacy. He is also the editor of several Medium publications, including Medium Blogging Guide, K Street, Strategic Communications, Background Check, Wall Street, Paywall Hacks, and Escaping the 9 to 5. He is a graduate of The University of Pennsylvania, where he received his B.A. in Urban Studies.