Tesla has shown off a new ventilator prototype, which could help address the shortage of these devices as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. This comes on the back of New York City mayor Bill de Blasio asking the company for help and innovations in light of the ventilator shortage.
The video shows two types of ventilators, one that’s stripped to show off the internal components, and the other encased, to show what it would look like when it’s ready for general use.
From face masks by Apple to ventilators by Tesla, technology companies have diverged from their product offerings to provide help to healthcare workers, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many have asked “why reinvent the ventilator?” when they’re needed so urgently. In the video, a Tesla engineer explains that the company wants to “use parts that we know really well”. By that, he means Tesla intends to use parts from existing Tesla products because they’ve proved to be reliable and are readily available to Tesla.
The ventilator’s design houses many repurposed units, like the Model 3’s screen and computer, and the Model S’s suspension system. The availability of these parts would speed up production for the company, ultimately getting these ventilators to where they need to be sooner rather than later.
Other car manufacturers in the US like Ford and General Motors are also making ventilators and medical equipment for healthcare workers in the US.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has recently come under fire because of his responses to the Coronavirus, which included referring to the coronavirus panic as “dumb”, suggesting that children are somehow “essentially immune” to the virus, and saying “based on current trends, probably close to zero new cases in the US too by end of April” in March. On 7 April, over 1800 people died in the US because of Coronavirus complications.
Nevertheless, the production of the ventilators is progressing steadily and is expected to launch as soon as the ventilators are FDA approved.