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How is your Model 3 doing filtering out the smoke from the forest fires?

Discussion in 'Model 3: User Interface' started by SMAlset, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. Incredulocious

    Incredulocious '11 LEAF → '13 RAV4EV → '18 Model 3

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    I did a test today with my Model 3 and an air quality sensor. With the PM2.5 sensor reading 150 ug/m^3 (unhealthy) this afternoon in the San Jose area (due to smoke from the Camp fire (Paradise, CA)), I found that the Model 3's air filter would bring things down to the 20's in the cabin in just a few minutes when recycle was turned on.

    Later, I stopped and made a video to record it falling from 135 to 5 ug/m^3 in less than 10 minutes. It climbed back up to the 80's pretty quickly though when I turned off recycle air and let it bring in fresh air.

     
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  2. SMAlset

    SMAlset Well-Known Member

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    Thank you so much @Incredulocious for taking the time for doing a video of testing the Model 3s air quality. Very much appreciated. BTW did you run the Model 3 fan speed at max to start your test?

    I've had my car on recirc and haven't really noticed a smokey smell inside my car, and will have my air speed turned up when I enter it as I know from our Model Ss Bio-defense weapon mode setting it's a very high fan speed. I do think the fan of the 3 seems better than the MS but then the cabin of the MS is so much larger than the 3 too.

    I guess I'm still wondering if the Model 3 uses a HEPA filter, just not one rated with as high particle efficiency as the one in our Model S. With the Calif wildfires all over the news and with Model 3s so prominently being sold surprised press hasn't asked Elon or he hasn't addressed this fact on his own publicly.
     
  3. Incredulocious

    Incredulocious '11 LEAF → '13 RAV4EV → '18 Model 3

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    No, I drove around a parking lot with the windows open to bring in the outside air until I hit 135 for PM2.5 (2.5 microns), and then I closed the windows and just brought it up to a fan speed of 5 for the test (which is higher than the 1 or 2 that I usually leave it at).

    And no, I don’t expect the Model 3 has a HEPA filter. I did see the video that shows it has two filters side by side for better air flow though. I want to test my Toyota RAV4 EV for comparison to see if there’s much difference between the Model 3’s filter and a presumably typical cabin air filter. Air’s not too bad in Santa Cruz today though (45-ish for PM2.5).
     
  4. y3llow

    y3llow Member

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    Thank you so much, Incredulocious! :):D

    Given the rapid reduction of PM2.5, perhaps the Model 3 does have a HEPA-class filter in it since PM2.5 particles would be difficult for a ordinary automotive paper filter to remove (Bioweapon Defense Mode on the Model S/X also runs in recirc)?

    A few weeks ago before the wildfires, in a Model S with the HEPA filter (Bioweapon Defense Mode capable) but set to fresh air (*not* on recirculation), I also measured PM2.5 hitting 90+ on the I-280 northbound around Daly City; this was a one-time spike, though, and normally, it would be around 25.

    I have my own air quality meter arriving next week and will also test on the Model 3 along with a fleet of gas guzzlers.

     
  5. SMAlset

    SMAlset Well-Known Member

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    #25 SMAlset, Nov 16, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
    All you have to do is come inland a bit if you want to put it to the test at higher levels. News this a.m. was indicating San Jose at 184 or something like that. Some areas further east and inland more were over 200. I drove down 101 south to Gilroy and could not believe how bad everything along the way was. Worse I’ve ever seen. When we’ve had fires in the ranges to the east and west of us it would be bad for a day or two and the winds would eventually move the worse out. I leave my car with AC And recirc on all the time due to my allergies/asthma and usually at fan speed 4-6. With the air the way it is now, I’ll run it at 10 when I get in and then adjust back down after a few minutes. I do feel we have a strong fan system in our Model 3s and that probably helps alot to pull the air thru our filters.

    While my plans are to limit time outside right now I needed to run to the bank this a.m. They had a guard posted outside who I was shocked didn’t have a mask provided to him and talked to him about it. Made a few calls and found the Gilroy Home Depot had received a large supply of the N95 masks so headed over for some for my husband and I. Will keep them in our cars for when we need to be out of the car running errands. Picked up a set for the bank guard who was surprised I came back with some for him and said he would definitely be using them when he has to be outside before the bank opens. Normally a day or two of air like this I would just avoid being out as much as possible but the news says to expect the air to remain really bad thru Monday or Tuesday at least so taking the extra precaution.

    Will be curious to see how other cars’ air filtration does in comparison. I think after this fire situation clears up it’s going to be time to change out my car’s filters. I still can’t help but think of all those homeless near the fire’s center living in tents and feel grateful my car and home have the filters in place that they do.
     
  6. SMAlset

    SMAlset Well-Known Member

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    BTW it felt great driving my Zero Emission Tesla in the horrible smoky mess knowing I wasn’t contributing to the “bad air day” unlike all those cars around me that were adding so much to it. No way any of their car exhaust was leaving the air around ground level any time soon. Never really thought too much about it like that until today’s visual—of the road in front of me all hazy brown and visibility drastically cut down.
     
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  7. Incredulocious

    Incredulocious '11 LEAF → '13 RAV4EV → '18 Model 3

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    Well, testing right now in my RAV4 EV. While I started at only like 50 on PM2.5 particles, it’s now down to 3 after 9 minutes. More results soon as I’ll run this on the Model 3 in a sec. Interesting, the TVOC went up in the RAV4 to unsafe levels (2.4 mg/m^3) in this time. Off-gassing upholstery and plastics?

    (And yeah, just 50 to start test. Don’t want to bother driving over the hill just to find worse smoke today.) :)
     
  8. Big Earl

    Big Earl bnkwupt

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    HEPA filters are much more restrictive than normal filters. They require much more surface area to flow the same volume of air. Retrofitting a HEPA filter into your stock Model 3 cabin filter will create a significant restriction, reduce airflow (possibly reducing heating and air conditioning performance) and increase HVAC system noise.
     
  9. SMAlset

    SMAlset Well-Known Member

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    #29 SMAlset, Nov 16, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
    Yikes readings from ABC7 just now for the bay area. They said this is the highest ever recorded for SF. Glad I picked up the N95 masks today if the rest of the weekend quality is going to be like this. At noon San Jose was 207. Hope owners are using their recirc in the Model 3s and Bio-defense mode if MS/X owners.

    IMG_9368.JPG
     
  10. Incredulocious

    Incredulocious '11 LEAF → '13 RAV4EV → '18 Model 3

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    #30 Incredulocious, Nov 16, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
    Okay, here we go...

    Both my 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV and my 2018 Tesla Model 3 were able to filter the cabin down to a reading of zero from a start of PM2.5 reading of 50 μg/m^3 with recycle air turned on. At full fan speed, the RAV4 took about 10 minutes and the Model 3 was able to do it in about 3-4 minutes.

    With recycle air turned off (fresh air intake on), the PM2.5 reading in both cars climbed up again. The Tesla seemed to hold around the low to mid 30's while the RAV4 went up to essentially the outside reading of 50 μg/m3.

    One other thing of note is that the RAV4 had a higher concentration of TVOC (total volatile organic compounds), even though the vehicle is five years old. Presumably this is off-gassing of some of the materials in the cabin.

    Oh, and I forgot to turn off A/C in the RAV4 for the test – hence the temperature drop.

    Here's more detail in screenshots – RAV4 start and finish with recycle on:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Model 3 start and finish with recycle on:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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  11. SMAlset

    SMAlset Well-Known Member

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    #31 SMAlset, Nov 16, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
    o_O Interesting info on fan speed power and VOCs in both vehicles. Not surprised by the Model 3 fan. I know Tesla has tried to be selective in the materials they use in their vehicles. Guess maybe this helps illustrate the differences. I happen to be someone who is more sensitive to odors and wonder if I was in your RAV with recirc on if I’d start experiencing a headache, burning eyes or irritated throat.
     
  12. y3llow

    y3llow Member

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    Super info! You are a credit to the Tesla community and we Californians (along with the thousands of lurkers on this forum) thank you!

     
  13. Eno Deb

    Eno Deb Active Member

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    Found this ad from China:



    The BMW filters look pretty similar to the ones in the Model 3.

    Sad that these levels of pollution are now apparently becoming a common issue in beautiful California too. :( Probably won't take long until automakers here start advertising their airfilters too ...
     
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  14. TANGO SUKKA

    TANGO SUKKA Member

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    this is my house filter after a week. i changed it out the day the fires started and replaced them again just now. i bet the car filters are not effective at this point and need to be swapped out.
     

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  15. Incredulocious

    Incredulocious '11 LEAF → '13 RAV4EV → '18 Model 3

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    As another follow-up, on the four hour drive to Tahoe today I encountered much worse air along the way (San Jose, Central Valley, Sacramento, etc). I’d guess the PM2.5 count was easily at least 150 μg/m^3 and probably much higher in places, but I avoided opening the windows to test it. I kept the air on recycle and saw that the particle count hold around 20 and sometimes climb to the 30’s. Not bad, given how bad it was outside.
     
  16. Incredulocious

    Incredulocious '11 LEAF → '13 RAV4EV → '18 Model 3

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    I’m amused to see that Teslarati has written up an article based on my test video (though they didn’t notice the follow-up test with the Toyota – I’ve since added a link here). And now Elon has retweeted the article! :)
     
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  17. asus389

    asus389 Member

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    Does the 3 run the air through the cabin filter when it’s on recirculate? I think other cars I have only have the filter in the path of the outside air.
     
  18. Incredulocious

    Incredulocious '11 LEAF → '13 RAV4EV → '18 Model 3

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    It apparently does run through the filter on recirculate and I don’t think that’s unusual. Note that my Toyota also cleared the air on recirculate.
     
  19. Ciditad

    Ciditad Member

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    I thought the stock air filters had active carbon in it? The difference between filters with and without active carbon is pretty significant.
     
  20. orangefish

    orangefish Member

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    Thanks for doing this! :)

    Could you by any chance provide any details on the sensor you used? I'm happy to give you an Amazon referral for the one they have now, but I was a big fan of the one you showed in the video so I figured I'd ask anyway... :)
     

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