Tesla Director Elon Musk said on Wednesday that the company's factory in Buffalo, New York & # 39; is as fast as humanly possible & # 39; will open to produce fans that are scarce due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
His comments, made via Twitter on Wednesday, follow earlier statements from the CEO outlining plans to donate fans or to increase production of the critical piece of medical equipment needed for patients hospitalized with COVID- 19, a respiratory disease caused by coronavirus. COVID-19 affects the lungs and can cause acute respiratory distress syndrome and pneumonia. And since there is no clinically proven treatment yet, fans are relied on to help people breathe and fight the disease. There are approximately 160,000 fans in the United States and another 12,700 in the National Strategic Supply, the NYT reported.
Last week, Tesla said in a statement that it would suspend production at its Fremont, California factory, where it assembles its electric vehicles, and the gigafactory in Buffalo, NY, except "those parts and supplies needed for service, infrastructure, and critical supply chains. & # 39;
It is not clear based on Musk's statements when the Buffalo factory would reopen or how long it would take to convert part of the factory used to produce solar panels. Musk did not say whether this was part of a possible collaboration with Medtronic .
Omar Ishrak, Medtronic's CEO, told CNBC on Wednesday that it will increase the capacity of its intensive care ventilator and partner with others such as Tesla. He said Medtronic is one of the bottom fans to open sourcing in less acute situations to others, as soon as possible. These lower fans, which are easier to produce because there are fewer components, can be used as an intermediate step in intensive care.
Tesla is one of many automakers, including GM, Ford and FCA, who have pledged support to either donate goods or provide resources to make more fans. Earlier this week, Ford said it is partnering with GE Healthcare to expand a fan's production capacity.
GM is working with Ventec Life Systems to help increase production of respiratory care products such as fans. Ventec will use GM's expertise in logistics, purchasing and production to build more fans. The companies did not provide further details, such as when production could potentially increase or how many fans would be produced.