When Elon Musk revealed the Tesla Model X on Tuesday, the entrepreneur disclosed a surprising fact about the luxury electric SUV: it comes with a bio-weapon defense mode.
During the presentation, which took place at Tesla’s Fremont, California, factory, Musk said that the vehicle will feature a dashboard button - represented by the international symbol for biological hazard - that when pressed would activate medical-grade air filters inside the cabin. The system consists of three layers of activated carbon capable of absorbing hydrocarbons, sulfur and ammonia.
According to Tesla, the filters will "strip outside air of pollen, bacteria, viruses and pollution before circulating it into the cabin." Musk said this filtration system is capable of filtering out particles on a near microscopic scale, and would be able to get rid of toxins and biological weapons. He added that Tesla had trouble getting any available air testing sensors to even detect a measurable level of particles when the HEPA filters – which are 10 times the size of filters found in other cars - were raised to the maximum level.
Elon on filter in X: "It gives you hospital level air quality" then shows bio weapon defense air mode button no joke pic.twitter.com/Ak5hx9ythm— Greg Kumparak (@Grg) September 30, 2015
The all-wheel drive Model X, which start at $132,000, will have a range of 250 miles with a 90 kWh battery. It boasts a top speed of 155 mph and does 0 – 60 mph in 3.2 seconds. The bio-weapon defense button isn’t the only piece of advanced technology found in the Model X; it also has a radar, cameras and a sonar which work together to let the SUV steer, brake and accelerate automatically on certain roads using the Autopilot feature. But for many people, especially ‘Back to the Future’ fans, the best feature of the vehicle is its DeLorean-like ‘falcon wing’ rear doors.
The Model X was unveiled nearly two years later than originally scheduled. Musk has acknowledged that the "difficulty in engineering" some of the SUV's parts had been greater than he had originally expected.