Tesla is Building Ventilators out of Car Parts

The electric car maker is using what it knows to help battle COVID-19

With the COVID-19 pandemic set to reach its peak in states across the U.S., the need for ventilators is becoming acute. Companies like Tesla, if they can design and build them quickly enough, can help fill the gap.

Tesla Ventilator
Tesla Ventilator. Tesla

Tesla is using existing electric car parts to design and build a new ventilator that it hopes can be used in the fight against COVID-19.

Inside the tech: The company released a video that details the project, explaining the ventilator is based on at least 15 Tesla electric car components. “We want to use parts that we know really well, we know the reliability of, and we can go really fast and they're available in volume,” explained one Tesla engineer in the video.

Tesla Ventilator Prototype
Tesla Ventilator Prototype.  Tesla

Learning about ventilators: In the video, we see the schematic and the first prototype, which is basically a lot of metal, breathing tubes, and wires spread across a development bench. One Tesla engineer used it to walk us through how a ventilator actually works, including mixing air and oxygen, forcing it into the patient’s lungs (some COVID-19 patients can no longer breath for themselves, which is why so many need ventilators), and sensors to insure the artificial breathing is working correctly.

Almost done? Tesla also showed off a more properly packaged and upright ventilator that includes a Tesla Model 3 Infotainment computer and a battery backup so the ventilator can work for up to 40 minutes while doctors move the patient.

Where have I heard this before: Tesla is not the first technology company to try its hand at designing, building, and quickly delivering ventilators. Electric vacuum and hair-care company Dyson told Lifewire that it developed a new ventilator in just 10 days.

Is it ready? Tesla’s ventilators are still under development. “There's still a lot of work to do,” said one engineer in the video, “but we're giving it our best effort to make sure we can help some people out there."

Bottom Line: The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over and the need for ventilators continues to rise across (and outside) the U.S. Tesla’s efforts are surely welcome.

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