By on February 25, 2020

As we told you last week, the rampaging coronavirus outbreak and subsequent restrictions on movement has forced Chinese automakers to use technology in new ways. With sales plunging and millions barred indoors, auto giant Geely turned to online retailing, allowing customers to order and configure cars from home. The automaker even allowed for test drives to take place at the buyer’s residence.

One aspect of the epidemic was the cancellation of a splashy February 14th sales launch for the new Icon small crossover, which hit the market this week. The event may have been scrubbed, but Geely still found a way to use the virus to its advantage. 

Launched via live-streaming platform on February 24th and available for order online, the Icon garnered plenty of digital eyes, but it also offered a promise: protection. In this case, not just shelter from the elements and other drivers.

The Icon features Geely’s G-Clean Intelligent Air Purification System (IAPS), which comes complete with a negative ion generator that sterilizes and purifies cabin air, eliminating pollen, dander, and viruses. Chinese online marketplace claims that, on February 17th, Geely engineers succeeded in creating an air conditioning filter that equals the filtering strength of an N95 surgical mask. That filter is apparently now in mass production, bound for vehicles like the Icon.

It’s reminiscent of Tesla’s HEPA filter and “Bioweapon Defense Mode,” though in this case the pathogen would be inside the vehicle, where the presumably healthy driver is already exposed to airborne droplets containing the respiratory virus. Drivers needn’t concern themselves with people coughing on the sidewalk as their Geely motors down the roadway, windows sealed. If that’s what anyone hopes to get across, it’s misleading medicine.

Of course, the real threat to any Geely driver in a viral hotspot is not the air in their car (unless they’re not alone, and a passenger starts appearing unwell), but their hands. What did they touch since they last washed them? Is the driver’s phone and key fob equally disinfected? Eventually, the hands gripping the steering wheel in that surgically-filtered cabin will migrate to the nose, eyes, and mouth of the driver. Ensuring they’re sanitized at all times is the best way to stay healthy.

That, and avoiding all of humanity. Optional all-wheel drive could help in that goal.

[Image: Geely]

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5 Comments on “This Crossover Won’t Save You From Coronavirus...”

  • avatar

    Hand sanitizer? Nice try, humans:

    • 0 avatar

      “N95 surgical mask”

      A bit pedantic but a N95 is classified as a respirator not a surgical mask. A surgical mask provides minimal protection to the wearer.

      A surgical mask is designed to protect the patient from you. A N95 is designed to protect you from the patient.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Mmmm…. I’m really starting to get worried about my trip to Japan in May.

    My wife bought us masks, not to protect us from the virus, but to help us blend in with the locals and not be any greater cause for concern.

  • avatar

    You know what will save me from coronavirus? The lack of any exposure to a media hype freak out overhyped virus. Now you’ll excuse me whilst I rub some dirt on this.

  • avatar

    It’s all about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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