Since the start of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic, many private companies have pledged to help governments by building or purchasing donated equipment from hospitals. And automaker Tesla is no exception. Indeed, after buying more than a thousand respirators then redistributed to American hospitals, Elon Musk recently revealed the new ventilator prototype developed by Tesla and made from auto parts of its Model 3.
Electric car maker Tesla unveiled a working prototype of a breathing device a few days ago. Tesla CEO Elon Musk pledged last month to use Tesla resources to “make shortage respirators” to help overcrowded hospitals during the coronavirus outbreak.
Two weeks ago, Musk also bought 1,255 existing respirators from Chinese manufacturers and donated them to hospitals in the Los Angeles area, what California governor Gavin Newsom called “a heroic effort.” However, critics quickly pointed out that Musk was not providing the right kind of device: non-invasive BPAP and CPAP respirators, which are used to help patients with milder conditions like sleep apnea, rather than ventilators invasive for intubation, which are necessary to help patients with severe forms.
Health officials also pointed out that these respirators could potentially increase the spread of infectious diseases by aerosolizing the virus, but that they were of some help in less severe cases. Musk now seems to want to redeem himself by designing his own model of artificial respirator (the good one this time).
Ventilation devices made from Model 3 parts
” We are trying to make ventilators out of certain auto parts, so that we can help the medical industry without tapping into their own equipment Said Lars Moravy, vice president of automotive engineering. The device can monitor a patient’s O2 and CO2 output and display this information on a Model 3 information touch screen. A Model 3 computer calculates the data.
” We want to use parts that we know very well, of which we know the reliability, and we can go very quickly, because they are available in large volume “Said Joseph Mardall, Tesla’s director of engineering. The machine must still be approved by the Food and Drug Administration from the United States – a process that could take a long time.
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Several companies hired to help hospitals
” There is still a lot of work to do, but we are doing our best to make sure we can help some people there. Says Moravy. Tesla is not the only automaker involved in the COVID-19 effort. General Motors and Ford have also started building their own respirators for American hospitals. Vacuum maker Dyson has also released their own design.
In this video, Tesla’s engineering project manager presents the new respiratory ventilator: