Here's how Tesla is helping to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Like many automakers right now, Tesla is using its engineering expertise to build ventilators for hospitals to help treat patients infected by the coronavirus disease since they are in critically short supply. To prevent taking supplies away from the medial industry, Tesla is producing its own in-house ventilator out of car parts. Tesla's ventilator isn't finished yet, but a video published by the automaker showcases a work-in-progress prototype.
Tesla engineers demonstrate how the prototype utilizes components from a Model 3 infotainment system. "We want to use parts that we know really well, we know the reliability of and we can go really fast and they are available in volume," Tesla's Engineering Director Joe Mardall explains.
For example, a touchscreen display taken from the Model 3 acts as a user interface, which is powered by a Model 3 infotainment computer system that controls Model 3 vehicle controllers. To demonstrate how the UI monitors the pressure, flow, and volume of each breath a patient makes, Tesla engineers used a respiratory simulator that replicates a patient's lungs. There's also a battery-powered backup system for when a patient needs to be moved. Since Tesla's ventilator is still an early prototype, it isn't clear when it will be production-ready and approved to treat Covid-19 patients.
Tesla's vice president of vehicle engineering, Lars Moravy, acknowledged that "there's still a lot of work to do but we're giving it our best effort to make sure we can help some people out there."
Elon Musk has been also criticized after Tesla sent the wrong type of ventilators to a New York hospital. A Tweet shared by New York City Hospitals thanked Musk and Tesla for donating 40 ventilators to Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, New York.
However, the photo shows a BiPAP machine, which is commonly used to treat problems like sleep apnea, instead of the life-support ventilators that are in short supply for hospitals required to keep Covid-19 patients alive, although the FDA recently said that CPAP and BiPAP machines can be used as an alternative to traditional life-support ventilators. Musk confirmed that all hospitals were given "exact specifications" of the machines, and that "all confirmed they would be critical."