Car air purifiers have been around a years now and the FP-JC2M-B unit that was sent to us for review has lived with us for months. But it is only now that I think there is an urgent need to talk about these. After all, those of us residing in Delhi/NCR region have the perfect scenario for testing it out thanks to the soupy air now categorised as 'Unhealthy' or at best 'Unhealthy for sensitive groups' - mind you we've breathed 'Hazardous' and 'Emergency' levels of air as well. So, is investing in a car air purifier a good idea? Yes. Yes, it is.
It is, especially if you do your daily commutes to work in a car. You would agree that an average city dweller who owns a car spends considerable amounts of their time in a car cabin. While some high-end cars come with in-built tech to tackle pollutants in the cabin, most cars on our roads don't.
Sharp FP-JC2M-B car air purifier was launched in India in January this year. Sharp say that this series of purifiers has been designed and developed specifically for Indian market. I'm not sure what that implies exactly but no matter as long as they mean that it works overtime to keep the air around me clean.
The FP-JC2M-B car air purifier uses dual HEPA and carbon filters that remove PM2.5, harmful gases, moulds and other gaseous substances, and Sharp's Plasmacluster tech generates fresh air. What all this translates to in simple language is that if the sensors pick up harmful content in the air, the filtering gets to work. The purifier has a way of communicating with you if the air is dirty. If it is orange – very dirty, yellow – it's almost got most of the contaminants, and if it's green – clean.
To be quite honest, I struggled thinking about how to test an air purifier. Sure, the little lamps on it tell us if the air is clean yet or not. But is it really? I realised a considerable change in what I could smell in the car and then when I stepped out.
The smokey flavour of our Delhi air was completely absent inside the car. Now, this got me thinking that air in Delhi is so dirty that a difference in smell inside and outside of a car will be very apparent. So, I did the same little test in Dehradun which has way cleaner air than Delhi – the result was the same. The cabin smelled cleaner.
This brings us to another feature that the Sharp air purifier has – Turbo. Not much had to be done to test this one out. During a highway run from Delhi-Dehradun, I got some McDonald's and the moment the packages of food were brought inside the cabin, the purifier automatically switched to Turbo.
Well, the smell of French fries isn't exactly toxic but to the FP-JC2M-B, it is foreign contaminant. And to us, this is contentment that the purifying is happening. It reminds of little Mo from the Pixar film Wall.E – it sees 'foreign contaminant' and it must clean it. It makes considerable noise in Turbo though but it isn't interrupting a conversation and it's all for the greater good. The air filter is easy to pull out and clean, and the purifier in itself only about 1.1 kg.
It looks nice too. Easy to install on the hand-rest of the rear seat on which it can be strapped onto or if it is a hatchback, strap it on to the back of the front seat's headrest (the cable is quite long so place it as you will). It draws power through the cigarette lighter, however, do remember to always plug it out before you head out or it could drain the battery. It could, we're not saying it will, but as they say, precaution is better.
Sharp FP-JC2M-B Car Air Purifier Price: Rs 16,500
Maybe until some years ago, I would have said that there is no need for a car air purifier citing reasons like your immunity will go weak (based entirely on self-made prognosis). Now though, health concerns occurring due to polluted air are real with people either developing breathing issues or it gets aggravated if they already suffer from it. So, yes air purifiers are good, they are our friend.