Automatic air recirculation?

Automatic air recirculation?

I have asked this question at the Tesla store and can't get an definitive answer. Does the Model S offer automatic air recirculation when the air intake sensor picks up high concentration of air pollutants? I have owned several BMW's and their system recognises gases in the air from outside the cabin - carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and other pollutants in the surrounding atmosphere. If the concentrations are too high, the system automatically switches to recirculation for a time. The air in the cabin is processed and filtered by the climate control system. Air from outside is only reintroduced when the system detects that the level of pollutants has fallen. I love this system since I hate the smell of old diesel technology that can easily fill the cabin with noxious fumes.

Mike_E | 5 July, 2013

I can't answer your question definitively but I think that it does.

I too have owned numerous BMWs with this feature so I know how it works there. In the last two days I have had to drive by a vacant lot where they are burning debris. Every time I have driven by it I get a very brief, faint smell of smoke then nothing. Therefore I believe the Tesla has detected the smoke and quickly switched to recirculating mode. It seems to me to be operating exactly as my BMWs did with regard to switching to recirculating mode.


stimeygee | 5 July, 2013

Actually I've had the opposite experience. I read that it is supposed to sense pollutants. But driving through the Lincoln tunnel or behind big trucks in traffic I definitely get a smell
of fumes, very different from my BMW.

Mathew98 | 5 July, 2013

@stimeygee - I just hold my breath whenever I go thru the Holland Tunnel...

How has your ride been holding up in pothole central? I notice my air suspension smooth out most uneven surfaces so far.

TS | 21 July, 2013

If the S dont have this feature, they should asap add a SW GPS based function:
When entering tunnels (map based), the air resycling turns on.

TM, Please do so before you deliver the first 1000 cars in the small country of tunnels..!!!

nickjhowe | 21 July, 2013

I assume it does, since the exterior/recirculate options have an 'auto' mode. Possible that it is only auto from an A/C point of view, but would be weird if it didn't have a pollutant sensor.

Robert22 | 21 July, 2013

Having just returned from a six hour round trip on I 95 I can tell you that enough truck exhaust to gag a maggot entered my cabin. If an auto-switch to recirculate exists, it needs a sensor update.

Robert22 | 21 July, 2013

Slightly OT question:

In this heat has anyone noticed that the A/C starts to groan like a sink disposal on a high fan setting I.e. 8-10 when on for a half hour or more? This happens periodically and sounds like the fan motor is running away. Eventually it slows down but the increased vibration can actually be felt in the steering wheel. If anyone else has experienced it I'll start another thread, if not I'll have service take a look. Thanks

nickjhowe | 21 July, 2013

@Robert22 - I asked service about that the other day. They say it is "normal". Not very normal if you ask me.

ulrichard | 15 May, 2017

After everything the car performs automatically, I somehow expected it would switch to recirculation automatically. Especially since there is a setting for automatic recirculation in the HVAC menu. Doesn't really matter to me whether it is based on a sensor, or GPS and maps. Thinking back, it might have done so for road tunnels.
But last weekend we went through a tunnel on the back of a train. And after enough bad air, I switched to recirculation manually. Then I forgot to switch it back. I realized it only today, when the oxygen content was so low that I started getting a mild headache.
Would be really cool if this automation was improved.

AmpedRealtor | 15 May, 2017

@ Robert22,

There was a service bulletin for older vehicles that experienced vibration in the steering wheel from the A/C compressor. It involved an adjustment to some steering components as well as installation of an insulating blanket over the compressor.

Rocky_H | 15 May, 2017

@ulrichard, Automatically based on what? I really can't think of what criteria you're thinking of that should automatically be inside or outside air. The car does have an automatic setting for that, but I think it's wrong year round, so I almost never leave that setting on auto.

I could think of what I would prefer it to do in AUTO mode, but it does the opposite. For air conditioning, it blows very weakly with outside air, so it needs to be on recirculate when it's pretty hot to get decent cooling. It doesn't.

For heating in the winter, the car tries to use recirculate to be more energy efficient, but that fogs up the cold windows within a couple of minutes, so that not a good idea.

ulrichard | 15 May, 2017

@Rocky_H I read that some German cars have outside air quality sensors that switch to recirculation when they detect too much pollution. That is one way.
If there is no sensor, the nav still knows when the car is in a tunnel. So it could easily switch to recirculation, because the air in tunnels is usually not that great.

barrykmd | 15 May, 2017

Rocky_H - I can think of one situation where it should automatically turn on recirc:
Based on GPS, as soon as one enters Staten Island. | 15 May, 2017

Once you set HVAC to recirc, the car memorizes that and will automatically switch to recirc at that GPS location. Works great. Perhaps someday it will have pre-loaded GPS coordinates of "bad" areas, but for now, it works great once set manually.

Rocky_H | 15 May, 2017

@TT, Quote: "Once you set HVAC to recirc, the car memorizes that and will automatically switch to recirc at that GPS location. Works great."

You're kidding, right? | 15 May, 2017

@Rocky_H - Not kidding. I use that in several places. Harris ranch (CA) has a huge area of cows next to the freeway. if the wind is blowing the wrong way - yikes! I set it on recirc before I get to to that bad area, and now it automatically goes into recirc when I get near that area from either direction. I think it introduced around 7.0.

barrykmd | 15 May, 2017

TT - I didn't know that either!

mike | 15 May, 2017

If you set your air circulation setting to "AUTO", how can you tell if the car is recirculating air or bringing in fresh air? There is no indication. The icons are always grayed out when it's set to "AUTO". Am I missing something? (2017 MS 90D).

Rocky_H | 16 May, 2017

@TT, Whoa, that's weird, and would be supremely annoying if true. I change that recirculate setting around at various times and various reasons, and it's never location based. I sure hope it's not tagging it to locations, where it would switch it around on my without my knowing about it as I drive to some place.

AmpedRealtor | 16 May, 2017

@ TT, are you sure about that? This is not documented and there is no indication that this is occurring, no way to delete previous coordinates. I would think that this feature would have been mentioned in the release notes.