Sharp In-Car Ion Generator IG-BC2UB
- Available at: Future Shop
Considering how much some Canadians commute to and from work, along with all the road trips in between, it makes sense that in-car air quality might be worth looking into. After all, if air purifiers are widely used in homes, then why not in the confines of a car?
This is Sharp's vision behind the IG-BC2UB Ion Generator, which uses Plasmacluster ions to attack odours, airborne viruses and mould emanating within a vehicle. The technology behind it is a lot like a miniaturized home air purifier, and it has been designed specifically to slide into a cup holder.
The unit plugs in directly to your 12V socket, and there are two ways to route the cable in the back where the filter is. There are two filters that come off; one on the electrode section inside and the other visible on the back panel. Instructions on how to best clean these are included in the manual, with an estimated span of six months or less before you have to clean them.
The device works in two modes. High gives you a maximum of 25,000 ions/cubic centimetre, or you can go with Low at half the ions. Fan speed is naturally faster and louder when using High, but not to a point that will really affect your driving experience in any way. Playing music at a regular volume easily drowns out the fan.
The ions are sent up to the car's ceiling at a 20-degree angle and then spread out to the rest of the car using something called the Coanda effect, which basically means it will travel along curved surfaces.
Despite the fact that the Ion Generator could impact the air quality in any car, it will arguably have a bigger impact in cars where smoking and pets are prevalent. But even under those circumstances, it will take weeks before you really notice any difference in air quality or see tangible results with a layer of dust stuck to the back filter.
That's not really a drawback because the unit's size can only do so much in a short span. The downside for some drivers is that it needs the 12V socket and a cup holder space to work at all times. If you only have one socket and you're using it to charge a phone or use an FM transmitter, then getting a 12V splitter might be worth considering because this is the type of vehicle accessory that should probably always be on when driving. Giving up a cup holder might not be a big deal if you tend to use one for change and other junk, but it can pose a problem if you carpool and the second one is always used by a passenger.
That said, it is a bit pricey and it comes from a company better known for TVs and Blu-ray players, which might dissuade some consumers. For others willing to spend the money to improve the air they breathe while driving, the Ion Generator does what it advertises.