Instead of reacting to a future viral disease like Covid-19, Nissan's interiors will actively prevent them.
When last did you hear a carmaker talk about a new initiative to combat Covid? At the height of the pandemic, manufacturers made masks, built ventilators, and developed sanitary gloveboxes that could kill viruses and bacteria. Ram even rolled out the latter in the special edition 1500 (RAM) RED Edition, which is sticking around for 2023.
The virus has seemingly run its course and become less potent while herd immunity has increased. But that hasn't stopped Nissan from planning ahead, and the company claims it has developed a new technology that prevents viruses from making you sick, and it's coming soon to a Nissan Rogue near you.
In partnership with Tohoku University's Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, the technology inactivates viruses, effectively preventing them from bonding with human cells. If a virus can't bond, it can't make you sick.
Nissan specifically highlights the novel coronavirus as being one such virus the tech works on but says it also works on bacteria and fungi.
Using catalyst active species, the tech oxidizes, denatures, and degrades the proteins on viruses that bind to human receptor cells. But unlike other similar types of tech that require light irradiation, the new tech is functional at room temperature in dark conditions.
The tech was tested using feline coronavirus as an alternative to the human strain, and a vast improvement was detected, with notable inhibition of infection.
So how can this tech be used in cars? Well, Nissan says it's incredibly versatile and can be used in masks, air conditioning filters, and even medical textiles. That means it could find use in upholstery further down the line, or simply in your AC filters for the time being.
The radical catalysts that make this tech work are already used in the polymer bases of automotive paints and in the fiber and polymer materials that form the foundation of interior and exterior plastics. Until now, they've prevented the degradation and cracking of dash plastics, but they could soon take on a new role.
So the next time you climb into a Nissan and run your hands over the plush soft-touch dashboard, just think that it could be stopping you from getting sick.
Whereas other manufacturers have relied on new UV lighting technology within cabins and Land Rover used nanotechnology in the AC, Nissan's tech will act passively, making the cabins of our cars safer and healthier places for you and your family to spend time.