Tesla’s engineering team released an update on Tesla’s progress making ventilators — something that hospitals desperately need to fight the coronavirus-caused disease COVID-19. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has already helped hospitals by donating CPAPs that doctors can convert into ventilators, as we’ve covered a few times. This is something different.
In the video, Tesla’s engineers explain that they have been working on developing their own ventilators — specifically, one based on Tesla car parts. “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.”
The engineers also demonstrate how they made the ventilator and how it works. The system uses the Model 3 Infotainment System for much of the work. The Model 3 touchscreen is used for visualizations, and is powered by the Infotainment computer. The computer powers Model 3 vehicle controller that “talk to precision-variable valves.” There’s also a battery-powered backup system for when you need to move a patient while keeping the system hooked up and working.
— Jewelry by Johnna (@JewelsByJohnna) April 5, 2020
My friend Dr. Jonathan Richards told me that this is what we need in our hospital intensive care units (ICUs). He explained that our hospitals need critical care ventilators — the invasive ones. “CPAPs and BiPaps are a last resort — better than nothing,” he explained.
That last resort is happening in New York and this is why Tesla’s donations of CPAPs are so critical. CPAPs can be converted into ventilators and used for some patients. In New York, healthcare workers are using anesthesia machines as ventilators and are doing all they can to save lives.
1. We are using anesthesia machines as ventilators.
2. We are "splitting" ventilator tubes so two patients can share a ventilator.
3. We are converting BiPAP machines into ventilators.
4. We are scouring the globe to acquire more ventilators.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) April 2, 2020
This is why Tesla’s quick action to make critical-care ventilators is vital and will save lives. I only wish that the idea for Tesla to make ventilators came about sooner — as in, when the virus was still only in China. However, I am sure that not many people thought it would devastate our world in the way that it has already. Few saw this coming.
What matters most is getting these ventilators produced as quickly as possible. While things are still critical in New York, the state I live in, Louisiana, is right behind and leading the way for the fastest growing cases of the coronavirus. Today, 68 more people in Louisiana died from the virus, bringing our current death toll to 477, which may change before this article is even published. It’s the weekend and our governor already said that our state was due to run out of ventilators by this point in time.
@elonmusk @tesla @omead_a
Guys things are getting serious in baton rouge now. NOT just New Orleans! We need ventilators and help. I heard from omead but nothing yet! I know you guys are busy but we need help!
— Cole Adam Davis (@COLEADAMDAVIS) April 6, 2020
We really need the help. Cole Davis, who recently contributed an article for CleanTechnica, told me in a text today that they are trying to do all that they can. He’s even gotten a donation of over 20,000 N95 masks. Despite that good news, though, we really need much more help. Another healthcare worker friend of mine is working without pay due to state offices that handle the payroll from Medicaid/Medicare and insurance being closed due to the governor’s stay-at-home orders.
Elon Musk, if you are reading this, I want to say thank you for these efforts and I simply ask that you not forget about us over here in “da boot,” (slang for Louisiana). Several of my friends are working on the frontlines — some of whom are Tesla and SpaceX superfans and Tesla owners — and we are running out of everything. Please, don’t forget us.