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Tesla Building Ventilators out of Car Parts

Updated: Apr 14, 2020

Elon Musk is redirecting his boffins to come up with a solution.

Tesla ventilators are a thing of engineering beauty and ingenuity, even though (or, perhaps, because) Elon Musk has got his workers making them from scratch with stuff they've got lying around their factories.

Tesla just posted a video giving us a sneaky preview of how it's making the 1,000 or so ventilators it's already donated to Los Angeles, plus more they're apparently cranking out right now, and will shortly be doing so at their New York factory too. The video is fascinating: the Tesla engineers are literally re-purposing car parts.

The reason is simple: car parts are available. Automotive companies obsessively stage parts for final assemble. Without doing so, having a shortage on, say, door handles can shut down a production line.

In this video, Tesla engineers say they are trying to use as many car parts as possible. For instance, Tesla’s ventilator uses the Model 3 infotainment system to power a Model 3 vehicle computer, which in turn, controls an air flow manifold. A suspension air tank is used as a oxygen mixing chamber. Among other parts, the team is also employing a Model 3 touchscreen as a controller.

It's not just Tesla that's pledged support to either donate supplies or offer resources to make more ventilators. Other US car manufacturers are re-directing their efforts too. Ford is working with GE to expand ventilator production while also using its own resources to build ventilators, respirators and face shields. GM intends to build ventilators at an Indiana-based car factory and recently announced it will soon be able to make 50,000 face masks a day.

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