After home and office, it’s the car where an individual spends the maximum amount of time inside a confined space. However, this confined space is mobile and spends its time being closest to sources of harmful pollutants on the road. Even with the windows rolled up, the air quality inside a car’s cabin is almost the same as the air outside, as the air-conditioner’s filter on most cars is only good enough to keep basic pollutants at bay.
With most of our cities occupying top spots on the list of cities with the worst AQI (Air Quality Index) in the World, an purifier which improves air quality inside a car’s cabin is the latest must-have feature for modern vehicles. The Kia Sonet offers one too. But where most cars offer a basic air purifier, the one inside the Sonet is a two-stage unit which promises to be really effective.
Stage one is where the air is passed through a HEPA filter which is designed to arrest fine particles in the air effectively. Then, the particle-free air is passed through UV-C rays which further eliminate airborne viruses and bacteria by up to 99%. But is it a device which does what it promises or is it just another gimmick? Let’s try to understand the stages in which this air purifier works and what really makes it effective.
HEPA (H13) Filter With N29
HEPA is an efficiency standard for air filters. It stands for high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA), high-efficiency particulate absorbing or high-efficiency particulate arrestance. Filters which meet HEPA standards must conform to a level of efficiency where they must remove (according to regional standards) at least 99.95% or 99.97% of particles whose diameter is equal to 0.3 μm. For these filters, the filtration efficiency must increase for particles whose diameter is both less than and greater than 0.3 μm.
HEPA filters are made of randomly arranged fibres with diameters between 0.5 and 2.0 micrometres. Inside the Kia Sonet, the HEPA (H13) filter with N29 (N stands for New, 29 is the atomic number for copper) uses fibre made from nano ionic bonding technology of copper sulphide. Copper has antibacterial/antivirus qualities (Approved by U.S. EPA), is harmless to humans and can be recycled. In the first stage of air purification, the HEPA filter in the smart pure air purifier inside the Sonet eliminates particulate matter. At this stage, viruses and bacteria are killed when the air passes over the copper inside the filter. The air then travels towards the UVC LED for the second stage of air purification.
UVC (Ultraviolet -C) LED
Ultraviolet light is highly effective in eliminating bacteria and viruses. The most relatable and common example we can give you is a home water purifier, where during one of the purifying stages, water is passed through UV light to make it fit for human consumption. The second stage of air filtration inside the Kia Sonet’s air purifier also makes use of UV-C with a wavelength which is between 260-290 nm. Although the ultraviolet lamp which the air purifier uses has strong sterilization power, occupants are not directly exposed to this. Also, the light used has a wavelength which is considered as the safest in the UVC range.
With this two-stage process, the smart pure air purifier inside the Kia Sonet promises 95% dust removal from the cabin in less than 25 minutes and purifies contaminants which include PM 2.5 and PM 10, Formaldehyde, Benzene, Nicotine and Staphylococcus – a bacteria which is very adaptable and its many varieties have now become resistant to one or more antibiotics. So much so that only 5% of today’s Staph infections can be cured with penicillin.
The smart pure air purifier inside the Sonet is not only effective, but it is also easy to clean as it’s only the HEPA filter which needs vacuum cleaning after every 500 hours of usage. Resting between the backrests of the two front seats, this device can be controlled through the Sonet’s infotainment screen and also remotely via the UVO app. Depending on the air quality inside the cabin, it can be made to work at four different speed settings or the user can leave it on ‘Auto’ for the filter to do its job on its own. It isn’t loud either and works at a noise level which is less than 45 dB.
What the smart pure air purifier also does is that it takes away the need to purchase a car freshener as it comes with an in-built perfume to keep the cabin fresh. A feature which even now is only reserved for high-end luxury cars, there are three available fragrance options – Ocean, Lavender and Forest, and users can make the air purifier disperse the fragrance in 4 different settings for intensity. The perfume is odour-free, ozone-free, and is FDA approved. Quite a nifty feature then, and not only is the air purifier efficient in keeping the air inside the cabin healthy, but it also leaves a pleasant note for your senses once it has done its primary job.