Tesla Model Y HEPA filter retrofit coming soon to enable Bioweapon Defense Mode for existing owners

Earlier this week it was discovered that Fremont-made Tesla Model Y vehicles are now being built with HEPA filters and Bioweapon Defense Mode. The new features are included in all Model Y vehicles built after July 1, 2021.

While this made soon-to-be Model Y owners happy, it left current owners wondering if they would also be able to get the feature through an official Tesla retrofit.

The good news is the automaker will soon be offering a retrofit to add the hospital-grade filters and Bioweapon Defense Mode for current owners.

According to an update sent to Tesla employees and reported by Sawyer Merritt, the retrofit will soon be available on the Tesla Shop as well as in the mobile app as an in-app purchase.

Drive Tesla has also been able to independently verify the update.

After the purchase owners will be required to visit a Service Center to complete the retrofit. The price has not yet been determined, but will include the cost of labour for installation. Tesla currently sells a similar kit for the Model X that costs $500 USD/$680 CAD, so the price should be similar to that.

An exact timeline was not provided in the update, only that it is not available yet and will be added to the Tesla Shop and mobile app when ready.

Here’s how Tesla describes the filters and feature on their website.

Inspired by the air filtration systems used in hospitals, clean rooms, and the space industry, we developed a HEPA filtration system capable of stripping the outside air of pollen, bacteria, and pollution before they enter the cabin and systematically scrubbing the air inside the cabin to eliminate any trace of these particles.

In a test performed in 2016, a Model X was placed in a large 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).

In less than two minutes with Bioweapon Defense Mode activated, the HEPA filtration system had cleaned the air in Model X, bringing pollution levels from an extremely dangerous 1,000 µg/m3 to levels so low as to be undetectable. The air was so clean inside the vehicle the testers were able to remove their gas masks and breathe fresh air while “sitting inside a bubble of pollution.”

Image via Tesla
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