The spread of the coronavirus is affecting all businesses in various ways, including the car industry. Production facilities across the globe have closed, vehicle sales have dropped and motorsport events across the world have been cancelled.
While vehicle production is at a halt, some car manufacturers have transitioned their production from cars to creating helpful resources to battle the virus.
So how exactly is the auto industry being impacted? Below we take look at some of the companies coming together to battle the pandemic:
Autocar has reported that Aston Martin are working with engineering firm Multimatic and research organisation the Manufacturing Technology Centre to design and produce Personal Protective Equipment to assist NHS staff.
Aston Martin is using its 3D printers to produce roughly 150 visors a week, and the firms are collectively working on a new intubation shield which could help protect medical staff who are intubating and extubating patients with coronavirus. The firm will also begin producing up to 750 gowns a week for medical staff in Warwickshire hospitals. Technicians at Aston Martin Works in Newport Pagnell are also providing emergency vehicle repairs to NHS staff at Milton Keynes University Hospital.
Mercedes have turned over their entire UK engine base in Brixworth to the production of the CPAP device and are producing up to 1,000 units a day. The Mercedes design – known as the ‘continuous positive airway pressure’ device (CPAP) – is a breathing aid to help patients with lung infections breathe more easily when an oxygen mask was insufficient but a full ventilator was not required.
Rolls-Royce is also producing visor kits at its Goodwood factory for local NHS staff. The company has also reportedly released its fleet of 30 cars to local charities and NHS services to assist with medical home deliveries.
Ferrari will be using an app to offer medical support for staff to monitor virus symptoms and to help contact tracing positive cases of covid-19. The company has also offered a ‘Back on Track scheme’ which offers voluntary screening with blood tests to employees and their families, as well as supplier staff. Employees who test positive will be offered free insurance cover, accommodation suitable for self-isolation and medical and nursing support at home.
Staff at the Luton Vivaro van plant have been loaned to Smiths Medical, contributing their specialist production skills to help the firm speed up the production of NHS-approved ventilators.
Envisage has designed and built a new portable ventilator that uses off-the-shelf medical components. The device was provided in response to the government call for assistance in the production of more ventilators for the NHS.
Ford has taken several steps to aid healthcare workers, local authorities, charities and volunteers, including loaning around 170 of its vehicles to support transport efforts.
Jaguar Land Rover
JLR is lending more than 160 vehicles to organisations including the British Red Cross and NHS to help deliver essential supplies to vulnerable people.
UK-based Formula 1 teams
Several UK-based Formula 1 teams including Red Bull, Racing Point, Haas, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG, Renault and Williams – have put their rivalries aside to form the Project Pitlane initiative, responding to the UK government’s call for help producing medical equipment. The teams claim to have made “significant progress” in three areas, including reverse engineering existing medical devices so they can be used to treat covi-d19 patients, support in scaling production of existing ventilator designs, and the rapid design and prototyping of a new ventilator design.
MG will supply up to 100 electric ZS models to NHS agencies, to aid transportation. The machines will be loaned free-of-charge for up to 6 months – the first models have been supplied to Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Trust.
To hear more news about auto companies battling against the pandemic, this piece from Autocar provides regular updates.
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