BREATHE SWEDISH AIR, EVERYWHERE
In Sweden, good air quality is a way of life, not a luxury, explains Volvo Cars’ Anders Löfvendahl
Words: Ian Dickson
“Growing up in Sweden we are used to clean air so when you’re in a city that has a problem with air pollution, it really makes you appreciate being out in the Swedish woods,” says Anders Löfvendahl, Engineer, Air Quality at Volvo Cars.
He is very passionate about air quality. After all, Sweden is famed for the cleanliness of its air, and his work studying air pollution and how to combat it means he understands the effect of clean, healthy air on mind and body.
“I like running so when the air is clean I feel like there is nothing stopping me,” says Anders. “I was in a major city recently and I didn’t even think of running outside because I could really feel it’s not good for you to be exposed to that environment. I don’t want to inhale all those particles in my lungs.”
Removing those tiny, harmful particles is a major consideration for Löfvendahl. His work on CleanZone is all about improving your wellbeing on every journey. Even if that journey is in a congested, polluted city. “The smaller the particle, the higher the health risk,” points out Anders. “Last year we tested in countries with air quality issues, where there is a big problem with pollutants.
We measured the particulate levels outside and inside the car. The meter was off the scale outside the car, but once inside with the Air Quality System working, the particulates dropped to a very low level. It was very impressive.”
At the heart of CleanZone is Volvo’s Interior Air Quality System, which has a sensor to measure the air quality coming into the car. If it detects a drop in quality – for example driving through a tunnel where there may be high levels of exhaust fumes – the car automatically closes its air intakes then switches to air recirculation.
In addition, all air, even if it is recirculated, passes through a multi filter that minimises the levels of dust, pollen and other particles entering the cabin. And a layer of active charcoal does the same for chemical odours, such as windscreen washer fluid. It also filters out harmful substances, like exhaust gas particles.
In fact, CleanZone starts protecting you before you even get in the car. As soon as you unlock the doors, the ventilation fan switches on at high speed to expel stale air.
Anders is proud of Volvo’s approach to improving the air quality in your car. “We don’t just develop it for ourselves,” he says. “We develop it to make the interior air better for people. And we test in real life situations so we can prove the technology works.”