At least three carmakers used parts for medical supplies

Many automakers have stopped car production and shifted to medical supplies to help the battle against the novel coronavirus. But while some brand provide technology to the firms that build the supplies, some automakers are using parts from their current vehicles to built masks and ventilators. Here’s what car parts you could find in medical supplies delivered to your country these days.

Seat cooling fans from the Ford F-150

Ford is actually making a wide variety of supplies right now, ranging from plastic face shields to the more complex Powered Air Purifying Respirator.

The latter is designed by 3M and it’s a much improved version of the N95 mask. Ford is also making ventilators based on a design licensed from a small Florida company called Airon. While the face shields are made from scratch, the respirators include cooling fans used in the seats of the Ford F-150 pickup truck. I’m certainly glad to hear that these coolers can do more than keep one’s butt comfortable during a hot day.

Technology and suspension from the Tesla Model 3

Tesla was among the first carmakers to join these efforts and it's building ventilators using a wide range of car parts, mostly from the small [Model 3->art164429] sedan.

Tesla’s ventilator uses the Model 3’s infotainment system to power the computer taken from the same car. The computer controls an air flow manifold. The oxygen mix chamber is actually a suspension air tank, while the touchscreen of a Model 3 is being used as a controller.

Windshield wiper mechanism from the Seat Leon

Spanish carmaker Seat joined the efforts by building emergency ventilators at its factory near Barcelona, Spain, a country that’s struggling to keep its medical system afloat with more than 150,000 cases reported as of April 9.

Seat's ventilators also feature a range of car parts, including the tiny motors used in windscreen wipers.

According to the Spanish automakers, around 90 percent of the materials used in the emergency ventilators come from the Leon. The hatchback was redesigned recently, but Seat could take advantage of the numerous sales that come in a fresh nameplate’s first few months on the market, so it’s putting some of its components to good use.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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