Amid the devastation caused by Covid-19, there are some positives – such as innovation. We explore some new developments within the automotive industry that are ensuring greater in-cabin air quality and purification.

Increasingly stringent measures on pandemic prevention and control are extending worldwide. At the urging of various governments, the health and safety in travel has gained popularity among the global community.

Players within this sphere are also doing their part to ensure the well-being of all. A stellar example of this is the new cabin-air purification technologies that two automotive manufacturers, namely Jaguar Land Rover and Chery, have developed.

Panasonic’s nanoe X technology
Jaguar Land Rover has partnered with Perfectus Biomed, a leading microbiology and virology lab, to perform a laboratory-based sealed-chamber test designed to simulate a vehicle ventilation system in recirculation mode over a 30-minute cycle. The independent research showed that viruses and bacteria were inhibited by as much as 97%.

The prototype heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system uses Panasonic’s nanoe X technology to inhibit harmful bacteria and viruses.

The nanoe X technology has also been tested on SARS-CoV-2 by Texcell, a global research organisation that specialises in viral testing and immune-profiling. It found that more than 99,995% of the virus was inhibited during the two-hour laboratory test.

“Our customers’ well-being is of paramount importance to us. Now, more than ever, we are all looking for technological solutions that can help take care of our loved ones,” says Dr Steve Iley, Jaguar Land Rover’s chief medical officer.

“The independent research and development commissioned by our expert engineers is just one of the ways we are working to assure our customers that harmful pathogens are being minimised, providing a cleaner environment for passengers inside the cabin and setting new standards in the ownership experience.”

How is this achieved?
To provide active air purification, the nanoe X technology, which is ten times more effective than its predecessor nanoe, uses a high voltage to create trillions of Hydroxyl (OH) radicals enveloped in nano-sized water molecules.

These OH radicals denature the virus and bacteria proteins, helping to inhibit their growth. The OH radicals also deodorise and inhibit allergens to create a cleaner air environment.

But is it safe?
OH radicals are made up of oxygen and hydrogen atoms and occur naturally in the atmosphere. They are highly reactive particles that help inhibit viruses, bacteria, allergens and mould, but through the nanoe X technology pose no danger to humans.

“This technology is a great example of being able to harness the power of nature and puts Jaguar Land Rover right at the forefront of this cabin technology,” says Alexander Owen, research engineer at Jaguar Land Rover.

“Hydroxyl radicals are one of the most important natural oxidants in chemistry and have been helping to clean our atmosphere for millennia, removing pollutants and other harmful substances. The creation of this technology, and our advanced research, is the first step in deploying this scientific phenomenon within vehicle cabins of the future.”

And what’s on offer from Chery?
As concern about Covid-19 grew, in 2020, Chery developed its CN95 health cabin filter, which can also form an “antiviral shield” inside the car – isolating more than 95% of fine particles and over 99% of bacteria in the air, effectively blocking, adsorbing and dehydrating virus carriers by destroying the living conditions for these organisms.

The Remote Active Cabin Self-Cleaning System will also sterilise and deodorise the car before unlocking and after locking, thus ensuring better air quality in the vehicle.

The CN95 system has now been applied in the Chery Tiggo 8, Tiggo 7 and other models, highlighting Chery’s undertaking to put safety first.

Given this critical period in the resurgence of Covid-19, it is reassuring to know that healthy, and safe, modes of transport are being prioritised to win the battle against the pandemic.

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