Tesla Unveils Prototype Coronavirus Fan Using Model 3 Parts


A Model 3 infotainment unit used as a fan touchscreen.

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Fans are one of the the most important medical devices in the battle against coronavirushelping to keep patients with critical COVID-19 infections alive. But as the coronavirus pandemic spread, hospitals in the hardest-hit countries found the devices in short supply. Fortunately, a handful of manufacturers have attempted to fill the gap, including Tesla, the electric vehicle giant led by Elon Musk, who is uses its New York gigafactory to help produce fans.

On April 5, Tesla Engineering provided an update on the company’s own fan, which is “heavily based on Tesla auto parts,” according to technical director Joseph Mardall. A four-minute video was posted on YouTube revealing a prototype fan powered by many of the same components used in the Tesla Model 3.

Earlier Sunday, an assistant to New York governor Andrew Cuomo said that Tesla made parts for the fan, not an entire machine. But it seems Tesla is advancing on a large-scale fan. Musk has previously said the company will work on fans, although he thinks they “probably won’t be necessary.”

The hospital-grade components and parts originally designed and built for Tesla’s fleet of electric vehicles work together to push a mixture of oxygen and air through the device. Ventilators are typically used in critical cases of COVID-19, where the lungs are filled with fluid and inflammatory cells that prevent adequate oxygen exchange.

The wrapped prototype of the machine shown in the Tesla Engineering video is primarily driven by the Model 3 infotainment system. The Tesla fan uses the touchscreen of the central display as the user interface for monitoring and the infotainment motherboard. of the vehicle as the main computer system, driving valves controlling the flow of gas in the fan.

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Fan shortage explained


Tesla is just one of the few companies to develop new state-of-the-art ventilation systems. The likes of tech giants Dyson, General Motors, MIT and a British consortium led by Airbus have all announced plans to close the fan gap around the world. However, the new systems will have to overcome certain regulatory obstacles before they can be used in the medical environment.

It’s unclear how far Tesla’s fans can be removed from production, but Lars Moravy, vice president of vehicle engineering at Tesla, suggests that it is still early.

“There is still a lot of work to be done, but we are doing our best to make sure we can help some people there,” he notes.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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