A Car that Cleans the Air as You Drive

July, 2021

Do you have a car? If so, why did you choose it?

If you don’t have a car, what kind of car would you like to have and why?

If you could have any car, what would you have and why?

What are the most important features in a car for you?

What do you imagine cars of the future to be like?

Vocabulary list 

• Students read each word followed by the definition, focusing on the correct pronunciation.

• The teacher reads the sample sentence and the students repeat, focusing on the correct pronunciation.

• After reading the list, students try to make their own example sentences using the words that are new to them. 

• Students share their example sentences and the teacher gives feedback, correcting errors if necessary.

contributor (noun)


a thing that adds to or helps cause something

Western countries are major contributors to climate change.


mitigate (verb)


to reduce the harm that something causes

The PR team tried to mitigate the bad publicity by issuing an apology.


reverse (verb)


to change something so that it is the opposite of what it was before

The decision was reversed by the courts after a successful appeal.


mesh (noun)


material made from a network of threads, wires, strings, etc.

A type of mesh is used on windows to keep out mosquitos.


particle (noun)


a tiny piece of something

People with hay fever are allergic to the particles of pollen in the air.


utilise (verb)


to use something in an effective way

We could improve our business by utilising our resources better.


opaque (adjective)


difficult to see through; not transparent

Olive oil is best stored in an opaque glass bottle.

A Car that Cleans the Air as You Drive

 Automobiles and other forms of motorised transport primarily rely on gasoline for fuel, which means travel is a huge contributor to global warming. In fact, private and commercial transport accounts for about a quarter of all carbon dioxide emissions around the world. However, there is one company that hopes to mitigate the negative impact of travel on the environment by not only reducing the harmful effects of transport, but also reversing them.


Heatherwick Studio, founded by the award winning British designer Thomas Heatherwick, has designed the Airo concept car, an electric car that produces zero emissions. However, it also has high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter technology. A HEPA filter is a type of filter in which air passes through a mesh that traps polluting particles such as dust or smoke. This means that the Airo also cleans the polluted air produced by other cars on the road as it drives. However, the Airo is more than just an environmentally friendly vehicle. Heatherwick Studio has included a host of other features in its design that make it an attractive buy for anybody interested in a new car.


The Airo utilises state of the art driverless car technology, enabling the vehicle to be controlled by either the driver or the car itself. Whilst in automatic mode, the front seats can be turned around to face the back seats and a table can be set up between the two sets of seats to create a social space for passengers. The car also has a screen that can be folded out and used for video games, and the seats can even be turned into a double bed.  And if passengers want some privacy or shade from the sunlight, the car’s glass roof can be turned opaque.


The Airo was revealed at the Shanghai Motor Show in April 2022 and is the first car designed by Heatherwick for new Chinese car brand IM Motors. The companies aim to start producing the car in 2023.



  1. Why do planes, trains and automobiles cause so much damage to the environment?
  1. According to the text, what are the two principle ways that the Airo hopes to reduce the damage caused by travelling by car?
  1. Who is the founder of the company that has developed the Airo?
  1. A HEPA filter is

a. the filtration system of an electric car’s engine.

b. a filter that prevents carbon dioxide from escaping into the air.

c. a filter that stops particles in the air from passing through it.


  1. According the description, the Airo has a convertible glass roof.



  1. The Airo can safely transport passengers whilst they are asleep.



  • What do you think about the Airo as a concept? Is it a car you would like to own? Why/Why not?
  • How important is it for you to own a car that has low carbon emissions?
  • Do you think all cars will be electric in the future? If so when, and if not why not?
  • Do you expect self-driving cars to be commonplace within your lifetime? Why/Why not?
  • Would you feel completely safe in a driverless car? If not, why?
  • Have you ever been to a car show? If so, what was it like? If not, would you like to and why?
  • What do you think are the most popular car brands in your country?
  • If you were to buy a new car tomorrow, what features would you want it to have?
  • If you could design a car of the future, what features would you like it to have?
  • Having read the article, what do you now imagine cars will be like in the next 10, 20 or 30 years?