Tesla launches Model X with an industry-first HVAC feature

By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

The long anticipated wait has finally come to an end. Tesla Motors has officially launched their newest, all electric drive vehicle Model X to a cheering crowd at the company’s Silicon Valley Tesla Factory in Freemont, California on September 29, 2015. The company’s CEO and founder, Elon Musk presented the first of its kind SUV during the official unveiling, describing its design, performance and intuitive features.

Figure 1 press03-model-x-front-three-quarter-with-doors-open

 Tesla’s new Model X brings to life their much anticipated concept SUV.

“As you know, it’s incredibly important that we move to a sustainable world, sooner rather than later, and it’s important to show that any type of car can go electric,” Musk said as he opened the Model X Launch Event. He talked about the vehicle’s safety performance before spending four minutes discussing the new vehicle’s HVAC system, focusing primarily on its state-of-the-art cabin air filtration system.


“We have with the Model X the first true HEPA filter in a car.” Musk explained it is important to have this filtration is because it translates to a real change in life expectancy by reducing the amount of pollutants the occupants breathe. Each car has a primary and secondary air filter, with the primary filter’s cross-sectional area about 10X larger than that of a normal car. “Not only is it 10x larger area, but the quality of the filter is greater, so that translates to a several hundred fold improvement in the filtration capability. It is 300 times better at filtering bacteria, 500 times better at allergens, 700 times better at soot or smog, and 800 times better at filtering viruses.”

Figure 2 Tesla HEPA FilterElon Musk is holding a standard cabin air filter in one hand, with Model X’s two cabin air filters in the other. Tesla’s medical-grade HEPA filter strips outside air of pollen, bacteria, viruses and pollution before circulating air back into the cabin.

In addition to its particle filtering capability, there are three layers of activated carbon. One is a universal adsorbent layer used to filter hydrocarbons. The second layer filters out acidic gases such as sulfur while a third layer filters ammonia and other alkaline gases. The net effect of this filtration system produces air cleanliness levels comparable to that of a hospital operating room, inside the car. “Even when operating on MAX, we can’t even detect any viruses or bacteria or spores. It’s like zero come through.”


“If there’s ever an apocalyptic scenario of some kind, hypothetically, you just press the Bio-weapon Defense Mode button (this is a real button on the HVAC control panel).

Figure 3 Tesla bio-weapon defense mode button

As shown in this screen shot of Model X’s HVAC control panel, there are three modes: circulate with outside air, re-circulate inside air and a Bio-weapon Defense Mode, which creates positive pressure inside the cabin to protect occupants.

More on the Model X and Tesla Motors can be found on their website www.teslamotors.com along with full video of the Model X’s launch. Check it out, and share your thoughts with MACS. We’d love to hear from you! Post a reply below, or visit our website www.macsw.org for more information.



About macsworldwide

Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Founded in 1981, MACS is the leading non-profit trade association for the mobile air conditioning, heating and engine cooling system segment of the automotive aftermarket. Since 1991, MACS has assisted more than 600,000 technicians to comply with the 1990 U.S. EPA Clean Air Act requirements for certification in refrigerant recovery and recycling to protect the environment. The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide’s mission is clear and focused--as the recognized global authority on mobile air conditioning and heat transfer industry issues. www.macsw.org
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