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COVID-19: EV companies begin manufacturing medical equipment

Amidst the outbreak of COVID-19, big brands within the automotive industry have been offering their production services to boost medical equipment. To ...

Georgia Wilson
|Mar 20|magazine10 min read

Amidst the outbreak of COVID-19, big brands within the automotive industry have been offering their production services to boost medical equipment.

To help increase the current supply of medical equipment needed in order to manage the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, big brands within the automotive industry are offering their manufacturing services to produce the equipment needed to manage the outbreak.

Leading the way within the industry is Chinese electric vehicle maker Build Your Dreams (BYD), which has begun production on 5 million face masks, as well as up to 500,000 bottles of disinfectant per day. 

In a company statement, BYD stated that the additional supplies will “help alleviate severe shortages that have affected hospitals and agencies across China in the face of the global COVID-19 outbreak.”

Being ground zero for the outbreak, China has been hit hard by the virus and although transmissions are now reportedly contained, around 80,000 people have been infected. 

BYD reportedly began its manufacturing of ‘high-quality’ face masks at the beginning of February, after appointing a special task force which is operating day and night in order to help with the containment of the COVID-19 outbreak.

To produce these ‘high-quality’ face masks, BYD has completed research and development, as well as building mask manufacturing equipment within seven days, as well as increasing its capacity to another five to 10 new mask manufacturing machines each day. 

“A production line for high-quality face masks requires about 1,300 parts for various gears, chains, and rollers, 90% of which is BYD’s self-made parts,” Sherry Li, Director-General of BYD’s president office, said in a statement.

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Another piece of equipment facing shortage is ventilators. Currently, the UK has over 2,700 cases of COVID-19, with only 5,000 ventilators. 

Auto manufacturer Nissan is assisting a consortium founded in response to the UK Prime Minister's prevention strategy, which also includes the likes of Meggitt and Mclaren, to help with the development of basic ventilator prototypes.

Nissan will focus on the manufacturing of ventilators alongside Meggitt (who produces oxygen systems for aircrafts) and McLaren to add its design expertise. The consortium is striving to build 5,000 more ventilators as soon as possible, with ambitions to build 30,000 which is expected to begin within one month. 

In addition to these big manufacturers, Tesla is also looking to lend a hand to help with the efforts in the US. Currently, the car manufacturer is already using bio-weapon-level air filters for its electric vehicles, which could be utilised for current outbreak efforts. “We will make ventilators if there is a shortage,” said Elon Musk on Twitter.

General Motors and Ford, who contributed to the war efforts in world war II with the production of aeroplanes and tanks, is also in talks with the US government as to determine how they can help with the production of ventilators. 

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