Do electric cars have air filters? Do electric cars really purify the air?

Unlike internal combustion engine cars, electric vehicles do not have engine air filters. But they have two important filters: one for the battery and one for cleaning the air inside the cabin.

In the future, air filters for electric vehicles will not only scrub the air inside the car, but also purify the air outside the car. Tesla and Audi are already deploying these technologies.

Here’s what you need to know about how air filters work, how often you should replace air filters for your electric car, and why they’re so important for your car and the health of our planet.

How Cabin Air Filters Work

Pollen, smoke, road debris, dust: these are all things you don’t want to inhale.

The air filter has several layers to capture these substances and prevent them from entering the cabin. The largest particles are filtered out first, while the innermost layer of the filter traps smaller particles.

The filtered media remains in the air filter, limiting its ability to “breathe” over time.


Most air filters are located behind the glove compartment and are used to purify the air entering the car through the vents under the hood.

What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Cabin Air Filters?

When it comes to cabin air filters, internal combustion engine cars and electric vehicles have similarities and differences. Cabin air filters are essential for climate control in both vehicles. However, there are differences.

If the cabin air filter is clogged, it will limit and eventually prevent airflow through the vents.

If you need to quickly defog your windshield, clogged or blocked air filters can create potentially unsafe situations.

Dirty cabin filters also force your vehicle’s blower motor to work harder to push air through the system. Imagine a fan trying to blow air through a heavy canvas instead of a thin layer of light yarn. A hard-working blower motor will have a shorter life.

How often should you change the air filter of your electric car?

It depends on the electric car, your health, how much you drive, and where you drive.

Google Maps is mapping the air quality of Europe’s streets. In the future, there may be more vehicles that integrate sensors and displays that allow you to monitor air quality, such as Airthings View Pollution devices.

Tesla recommends that the Model 3 and Model replace the cabin air filter every two years, and the Model S and Model X produced after 2020 every three years (the previous model was replaced every two years).

Other manufacturers, such as Ford, recommend replacing cabin air filters every 15,000 miles.

If you drive more than 15,000 miles a year, have allergies, or drive in heavily polluted cities, it may make sense to change your cabin filter more regularly.


The good news is that new technologies are on the horizon that will allow cabin filters to help people in the car breathe more easily and benefit the planet as a whole.

Tesla’s Bioweapon Defense Mode

Tesla takes air pollution seriously. In fact, they took it so seriously that they developed a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter that allows you to survive a military-grade biological attack. Tesla’s bioweapons defense model was designed and tested to enable people in the car to breathe at horrific levels of pollution. This filtration technology is so powerful that it can even clean the air outside the car.


Audi’s Urban Air Purifier

Audi’s Urban Air Purifier purifies the air while the car is on the road and while charging.

While the idea of using your luxury car to clean up the pollution caused by coal plants may be unpleasant to some, the technology has been tested on the Audi e-tron and proven to have no negative impact on its operation.


The technology is now in the experimental phase, but as government regulations require more environmental efforts, it could also become common not only at Audi but also among other manufacturers.

The future of electric vehicle air filters

As electric vehicles become more common, air purification technology will continue to improve. The good news is that you can breathe clean air while helping the environment.

No matter what kind of vehicle you drive, it’s important to change your air filter regularly, especially if you live in the polluted city air.