- Geely Auto's new Icon SUV includes an air-filtration system capable of purifying air of bacteria and viruses, in response to the coronavirus.
- The car's system is certified to filter out 95% of small particles, but it likely isn't foolproof - some coronavirus particles are known to be smaller than certification standards.
- The Icon was launched for the Chinese market, and had more than 30,000 preorders in the hours before it was released.
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Chinese carmaker Geely Auto launched its latest model, the Icon, on Monday, but it's no ordinary compact SUV.
It's a compact SUV equipped for the coronavirus, as Geely said it comes with a filtration system capable of purifying air and filtering out viruses.
Geely, whose parent company has bought names like Volvo and Lotus, released the SUV just three weeks after the company pledged it would spend $53 million to design cars to protect passengers from viruses such as the novel coronavirus. Geely launched the Icon for the Chinese market, and described its production of the purification system in the Icon as "developed in record time."
Coronavirus has infected more 83,000 people globally and killed nearly 2,900, mostly in China. It continues to spread, with more than a dozen countries reporting their first case in the past 48 hours.
The Icon's air filtration system is N95 certified, which means it blocks at least 95% of small particles that measure 0.3 microns. But coronavirus particles measure between 0.05 and 0.2 microns in diameter, meaning the new feature may not be able to entirely protect occupants from an outbreak despite limiting exposure.
Even still, Geely said it received more than 30,000 orders for the Icon in the hours before its launch through online pre-ordering.
"Geely ICON's launch not only showcases the core strength of Geely's global development network, it also shows our forward thinking and demonstrates the high-tech digital future we are all moving toward," Geely Auto Group's President and CEO, An Conghui, said online at the vehicle's launch event.