Panasonic announced yesterday that it will be providing GrabCar Premium vehicles with air-purifying nanoe X generators said to inhibit the growth of the virus that causes Covid-19 within a space.
Some 5,500 vehicles in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Jakarta will be installed with the nanoe X by mid-March.
The technology collects moisture in the air and applies a high voltage to produce highly reactive hydroxyl radicals that denature proteins in the Sars-CoV-2 virus.
These oxidative radicals can inhibit the virus' activity or growth by a rate of 99.99 per cent in two hours, according to tests conducted at French research institute, Texcell.
Panasonic said nanoe X is effective on airborne and adhered viruses.
In Texcell's tests, a gauze saturated with a Sars-CoV-2 virus solution was exposed to the nanoe X generator from a 15cm distance for two hours within a 45-litre enclosed box.
The technology was also tested with an air-conditioner in a space of 6.7 cubic m for eight hours, and it was found that nanoe X reduced virus activity by 91.4 per cent.
The test was carried out in a closed laboratory environment.
However, the technology is unable to prevent infection by the Sars-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19.
The nanoe X generator is compact enough to fit in a car cup holder, and can be powered by a USB port to clean the air inside the car. The technology is also used in home appliances such as air purifiers, air-conditioners and washing machines.
Panasonic declined to say if it will be collaborating with other companies aside from Grab.
It added that it will continue to pursue the potential of the nanoe X technology to address possible risks associated with air pollution, with the aim of creatinghealthy environments for people.