Many companies and startups are striving to improve the air quality inside cars. This target has become more urgent as commuting culture grows. In Germany alone, over 18 million people travel long distances between their home and workplace. And of these, 70% will be sat in their cars. If it’s possible to turn stressful commuting into air therapy, the car could become a saviour of public health. And clean cars would do this without producing any pollutants themselves.
For most companies focusing on interior air quality, the aim is to create a portable filter system that can be retrofitted. It should sit inside a car and absorb particles coming from open windows, open doors as well as the passengers themselves. For example, Philips GoPure cleans the air three times an hour and automatically reacts to traffic jams. With supplier Faureca, Philips has also developed an air filter that integrates with the instrument panel, seat trim or backrest. Airbubble looks like a neck pillow. This handy filter attaches to the headrest and will be available from 2018. German firm AnoKath uses a clean diffuser to disinfect the air. Docked to the cigarette lighter, it sprays a substance that reduces germs, spores and odour particles - the Little Tree 2.0.
The air can also be cleaned by electricity. Ionizers pole uncharged or positively charged molecules into negative ions. These negative ions then bind with the smallest pollutants, pollen, mites and germs. The result is an enriched air - like near the sea, or in the mountains. The more negative ions, the cleaner the air is. There are also other solutions that can be integrated into the car, like the Air Balance package from Mercedes Benz.
Tesla proved in a test that even a biological attack wouldn’t overcome a high-quality air filter system. They exposed their Model X to highly contaminated air. Within two minutes, the car’s HEPA filter reduced the dirty air inside the car to a negligible amount.