A breath of Swedish air
Clean air should not be a luxury. Yet figures published by the World Health Organisation estimate that air pollution caused three million premature deaths worldwide in 2012. In 2014, 92% of the world population was living somewhere that did not meet its guidelines for air quality.
“Air pollution is a global problem,” says Anders Löfvendahl, function owner, air quality at Volvo Cars. “I was in one major city recently and I didn’t even think of going for a run because of its high level of air pollution. It’s not good for you to be exposed to that environment. I didn’t want to inhale all those particles in my lungs.”
Reducing the effects of air pollution is a big part of Anders’ job. He’s one of the team that’s responsible for developing CleanZone – a package of features that maintains healthy air inside the latest Volvo cars. CleanZone technology monitors incoming air for harmful substances and actively protects you from them. If you are driving through a tunnel, for example, and its sensors detect high levels of exhaust fumes, the car automatically closes its air intakes and then switches to air recirculation.
All air, even if it is being recirculated, passes through a filter that reduces the level of dust, pollen and other particles. An active charcoal layer acts on chemical odours, and filters out harmful substances such as exhaust gas particles.
“If you have allergies you will really appreciate CleanZone,” says Anders. “But this is a feature that everyone can benefit from. Particles in the air, like those produced by exhausts, may not be something most customers will notice, but they would if this feature wasn’t there.”
“Air pollution is a global problem. CleanZone is a feature that everyone can benefit from.”
Function owner, air quality
Volvo Cars looks at the bigger picture, of course, which means developing cars that lower exhaust emissions. Every new Volvo car uses compact, lightweight powertrains for increased efficiency, while the latest Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrains allow many owners to commute using emissions-free, electric-only power.
With air pollution an increasingly serious issue, Anders Löfvendahl is happy that the work he and his colleagues are doing will make a difference to people all over the world, and not just those driving Volvo cars.
The opportunity to improve people’s quality of life is one of the most rewarding things about working at Volvo Cars, he says: “You know that you’re making a difference. More than ever, it’s an inspiring, empowering place to be.”
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