If itchy eyes, blocked noses, and constant sneezing sound familiar during this hay fever season, come and sit in a Volvo.
All new Volvo cars can help provide relief to the more than half a million hay fever sufferers in Ireland thanks to the standard fitment of a pollen filter. With individual microscopic tree and grass pollen measuring just 15-100 microns, a high quality pollen filter like Volvo's is necessary to help keep hay fever symptoms at bay.
“The filters we fit to clean the passenger compartment air also remove the particles that cause allergies. A ride in a car can actually make breathing easier for many sufferers when the problem becomes acute,” says Andreas Andersson, manager of allergy-optimised car interiors at Volvo Cars.
The researchers at Volvo Cars are now working on the development of filters that can prevent even the tiniest of particles entering the cabin.
“It is the small particles that are the most dangerous. They may not result in immediate symptoms like the larger ones do, which cause allergies to ‘blossom’. However, small particles can cause negative health effects in the longer term,” concludes Andreas Andersson.
The hayfever season starts in mid- to late April with tree pollen such as ash and pine. Common garden trees such as silver birch cause problems in late April to mid May and just as tree pollen is subsiding, grass pollen becomes an issue and causes mayhem from early May through to mid =-August.
With symptoms like sneezing and itchy eyes liable to affect a motorists ability to drive safely, it's a situation Volvo takes very seriously. High-mileage drivers such as company motorists or commercial vehicle drivers are most at risk of accelerating their symptoms as they spend a lot more time in their vehicles each day.
Along with the standard fitment of a pollen filter, Volvo's contribution to hay fever relief also includes its automatic Air Quality System (AQS ) and a Clean Zone Interior Package (CZIP ).
AQS consists of a filter featuring a particle trap and an active carbon filter, removing particles such as pollen and unpleasant odours from the incoming air. It is equipped with a sensor that automatically activates the air recirculation function if the concentrations of substances such as nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons in the air entering the cabin are too high. AQS is standard on all V70 and XC70, C70, S80, XC90 models and on SE and SE Lux trim levels in the S60 and XC60. AQS is available as an option for around €120 on the C30, S40 and V50 and on the S60 and XC60 ES and R-DESIGN versions.
CZIP provides an interior with materials that avoid collecting dust, such as natural rubber mats instead of dust-collecting textile ones, and upholstery that conforms to the regulations set out by the Swedish Asthma and Allergy Association.
It also includes a unique remotely-controlled cabin ventilation system which automatically refreshes the car's interior as soon as it's unlocked via the remote key fob to ensure stale air is removed as quickly as possible when the driver enters the car. CZIP is available as an option on S60, S80, V70, XC70, and XC60 and costs approximately €170 (including VAT ) depending on the model and VRT rate applicable.
Volvo's concern isn't just restricted to new vehicle buyers either. Pollen filters are replaced as part of the regular routine service at Volvo dealers, so the benefits also apply to customers purchasing older, used vehicles too.
DRIVe towards zero
The development of an allergy-optimised in-car environment is part of the vision that Volvo Cars presented under the heading DRIVe Towards Zero, where the aim is to develop cars that are entirely free from harmful particles and carbon dioxide emissions.
Volvo Cars is also the only manufacturer in the car industry with a complete model range that features textiles that are so clean and non-toxic that they are certified according to the high Oeko-Tex standard.
All parts containing nickel are tested to ensure nickel leakage is kept to a minimum. In addition, all leather used in Volvo car interiors has been treated in a chromium-free tanning process, using either natural or synthetic tanning materials.
Finally, the Volvo S80, V70, XC70, and XC60 have been recommended by the Swedish Asthma and Allergy Association.