Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk has said that he may consider including a “super efficient” air conditioning and water filtration systems for the upcoming Cybertruck, an addition that would push the boundaries of the upcoming all-electric ute (pickup in the US) to that of an armageddon survival juggernaut.
The vehicle can now be not only powered by renewables, is practically undentable thanks to its cold-rolled steel exoskeleton, and will have first-class suspension to tackle rough roads and dunes, it now is likely to have a super efficient air con system that also collects its own water that you can drink.
Considering Australia – a vastly arid continent – is the largest market outside of North America for the Cybertruck, it’s sounding like a very good idea for local customers.
Musk’s hint of the new features comes as he also talks of working on a heating ventilation and air con (HVAC) system for smart homes that completes the circle of energy generation and use.
Musk hinted at such a product as far back as September 2018, during an interview with well-known US podcast host Joe Rogan. At the time, he pondered a “Tesla Smart Home” solution that would offer a more efficient air conditioning system that would predict when a person is due to arrive home and cool down rooms it thinks likely to be needed.
When prodded further about if such a product is under development, Musk became quiet and only said, “I cannot answer questions about potential future products.”
In late March, Musk brought the subject up again, saying in response to comment about the Model Y heat pump (which we have reported on here) that, “Sure would love to do home HVAC that’s quiet & efficient, with humidity control & HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter“.
Now, Musk has mentioned it yet again, saying it’s something that he’d really like to do and adding that it could also include a water distillation device. Considering the fact that a by-product of air conditioning systems is a constant dripfeed of water, it’s amazing this is not already a widespread thing.
I’m dying to do super efficient, quiet home HVAC with HEPA & water distillation. It’s weird, but I really want to do it.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 23, 2020
Then he added that, “Maybe the Cybertruck will have it…”
Maybe Cybertruck will have it …
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 23, 2020
Both the Tesla’s premium electric vehicles, the Model S and Model X, already have a HVAC system with a “bio weapon” level HEPA filter, giving owners a reprieve from the onslaught of air pollution from traffic congested largely by petrol and diesel vehicles.
The Model Y’s very efficient heat pump is a big step up from the simpler HVAC system in the Model 3 (it never received the high-end HEPA filter due to space restrictions but also likely due to cost constraints to produce a “mass-market” electric vehicle).
The suggestion of integrating a water distillation unit with a HVAC system however would take the vision of the Cybertruck as apocalyptic armoured vehicle to the next level.
And it could be closer than we think. A new patent granted to Tesla in January titled “Vehicle air system with high efficiency filter” discusses adding new freshly filtered air into air already being recirculated in the cabin to maintain positive air pressure.
Musk has not discussed how a smart home HVAC system would be used in the Cybertruck, but it is possible that the water distillation technology would be transferrable.
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Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model Y and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.