Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.
Tesla has released a video that shows prototypes for a ventilator it’s working on that was designed with car parts.
Unlike Ford and GM, which are helping device companies swiftly ramp up production of their existing products, Tesla said its goal is to develop a ventilator that doesn’t tap into the existing parts supply chain.
Tesla’s design plugs into a hospital’s oxygen supply and mixes the O2 with ambient air using a chamber borrowed from one of its adjustable air suspension systems. From there, it works its way through a custom valve body, flow rate sensor, pressure sensor and filter before being pumped into the patient’s lungs.
The prototype is controlled by the vehicle controllers, touchscreen and infotainment system computer from a Tesla Model 3 and features a backup battery and compressor that can be used with a portable oxygen tank in case of a power outage or to transport the patient.
The automaker didn’t offer a timeline for when it expects to have an FDA-approved production-ready version of the device or where it will be built, but Elon Musk had previously suggested it could possibly manufacture ventilators at Tesla’s idled solar-panel factory in Buffalo, while the Model 3 is manufactured at its Fremont, Calif., and Shanghai, China, facilities.
Tesla has previously donated several hundred BPAP machines that can be used to help treat less severe cases of COVID-19.