Automakers making cars to beat the virus
Automakers in China are incorporating products and technologies in their vehicles aimed at keeping cars virus-free amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Air filter systems, antibacterial fabrics and ultraviolet technology are being adopted in a bid to guarantee car owners' health and provide them with a clean interior environment.
Geely, China’s largest privately owned carmaker, has announced an investment of 370 million yuan (US$53 million) in the research and development of a vehicle with virus protection.
Geely said it will use a new type of filter material which can achieve a filtration efficiency of more than 95 percent for particles with a diameter of 0.3µm. Its filtration efficiency for droplets larger than 0.74µm (which may contain COVID-19) can reach 98 percent, according to the company.
The material can also remove allergenic substances such as smoke, dust and pollen.
An Conghui, Geely Auto Group president and CEO, said: "Epidemic prevention is a job that requires the long-term efforts of wider society. As the most common mode of transportation, consumers spend a considerable amount of time in their cars, akin to a second home."
An said auto companies should be committed to developing products that help protect the health of drivers and passengers. This will be one of Geely’s key research and development directions in the long term.
Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC) has launched two products which can be installed inside a car, applying deep ultraviolet (DUV) technology to protect people from viruses.
One of the products, developed by SAIC’s Sanden Huayu Automotive Air-Conditioning, uses a DUV device inside the air-conditioning system to filter and block viruses and bacteria from reaching drivers and passengers. It purifies and sterilizes the air in an enclosed car in minutes.
The other product is a DUV sterilization box developed by Yanfeng which can be installed on the roof inside a vehicle to sterilize and disinfect the interior.
SAIC said the device is safe to use as it is installed inside the air-conditioner and will not leak into the passenger compartment. The device should be used when the cockpit is unoccupied to prevent ultraviolet rays from harming the body.
More and more companies are getting involved, hoping to provide drivers and passengers with a safer and more comfortable environment.
Lincoln, Ford’s luxury brand, said car owners can use a system called Auto Air Refresh equipped in some of its vehicles. It is a combination of an in-car air-monitoring system and an air purification system.
Shanghai-based WM Motor also said it is upgrading its air filtration system to add a UVC cabin cleaning function. The company says the system can help to get rid of bacteria and viruses in the car.