Tesla's Ventilator - When Car Companies Help In Times of Crisis
FOR TUNING IN. I am what of your host Ben Bolan and I am Kurt. Gerron and like many of us in the world today a Kurt and I are recording remotely from our separate bunkers tower. Good Pal the Walter Jesse Pink Ben Scott. Benjamin couldn't make it today but as well and sends his regards. Kurt I want to check in before we get started. How are you doing man? How how long have you been in this lockdown stage I guess about three three and a half weeks now. They've been well the just hanging in there like many people out there. How about you been? I've been you know I've been doing pretty well. Ev- actually Have actually taken the habit of just getting out on the road just to get out of the house. You know. I'm not really. I don't really have a reason to go anywhere I don't have I'm stocked up on everything I could need but I've always loved road trips. I finally got a reliable vehicle before all this stuff went down and so for anyone familiar with the Atlanta area. Our fair metropolis usually as terrible terrible traffic and I have been driving around to eighty five. Which is an interstate that encircles Atlanta? I've just been driving around it and it's a it's a great drive dude because there's never any traffic now is it used to be notoriously busy and choked up and now you can just zoom on by. I would say I feel like we do have to point out if you're listening and you're in an area where you have been told that you cannot take any non essential trips then. Please abide by that to the best of your ability. But I haven't been stopped by anybody you know. I haven't been like hot rotting or redlining anywhere but it's good to get out there in nature. I mean I don't know if if you all have been going on any hikes or anything. Oh Yeah it's been very important for me at least for my sanity to get out there and enjoy some of the spring weather which I love so much but running in my neighborhood and going on walks and just trying to stay away from those purpose built pass because I hear that people are all over those these days for some reason. Oh Yeah Yeah. It's it's real strange. You know I think I think we're learning. Just how much of a toll cabin fever can take on people but as many folks have said not just in our country but abroad in Australia in Europe in in Asia every country that's dealing with his current cove in nineteen pandemic as set this at some point. We're all in this together and this guy you and I thinking about some tremendously impressive. Acts both in the current day and in the past so kurt a little while ago off air you and I were were just kicking around ideas. Just shooting the breeze and we started talking about how a believer conversation started when when we were talking about how Tesla the electric car company run by Elon. Musk had pledged to start building ventilators to help with hospitals that were in short supply and to help patients who needed these medical devices So that they could get over the hump of infection. Which can be you know can be quite dangerous but of of medical ventilator is something that you wouldn't really expect a car company to build even one that's a little bit more. Sifi like Elon. Musk you know. Because he's known for his crazy Sifi ideas. Yeah unless rewind Several weeks ago when this thing was ramping up in the United States Elon. Musk came out on twitter and said the corona virus panic is dumb. That kind of rubs people the wrong way Perhaps what he was saying. Was that panic. Isn't necessarily a productive reaction so what he is decided to do is to use some of the minds. He has working for him. At Tesla to create ventilators hospitals can use. Because there's a high likelihood that has this virus progresses that there will be a need for ventilators throughout the country He has also been buying machines from other places where he can. He's been buying BA- less intrusive type Later known as the B Pat Yup machine and doctors in New York at Mount Sinai have been able to come up with a way to turn these into fully-fledged ventilators save put out a fifteen page instruction manual and now other hospitals can use that manual took convert these types of machines over a two full on ventilators as well so all of this problem solving and ingenuity is really exciting. In a time when there's not a lot of excitement to be had so I guess it can be said that Elon. Musk is not panicking and he's doing what he can to try to help yet. Absolutely and you know this is something that I was interested in because not being a doctor not being a maker of ventilators myself I like. Many people was hearing this word thrown around on the news and I didn't know what a ventilator was and at first I didn't understand other than having a factory I didn't understand what Tesla could be doing to create these machines But then once you learn what ventilator is it makes a little more sense so event later is a machine that provides mechanical ventilation it moves breathable air in an out of human lungs so it essentially a breathes four you if you are unable to breathe or if you can't breathe well enough on your own so instantly we can see how this could literally be a life saving device for people know. Tesla at this point as far as we can tell their engineers have just made a prototype ventilator but the cool thing really impressive thing is that this ventilator mainly uses car parts mainly uses things they were already using the Tesla models infotainment system. That's what controls the ventilator the model three touch screen controllers. That's also what you use as an interface and the oxygen in air mixing. You know that's something that cars need to do to so it makes way more sense than you might think initially and there's this pretty great youtube video that walks through it. The show's Elon. Musk and Tesla engineers talking about what they're using and how they're assembling these things to make working ventilators again. They don't have the hundreds of thousands of these out now but the proof of concept is impressive. I would say yeah. Yeah definitely and like you. And I'm sure many out there can relate to this but The terms of the day seemed to be changing a month or two ago. I had no desire to learn what ventilator was and I didn't know what PPC stood for didn't know what herd immunity was who but now as we become more immersed in this world of a pandemic we Are becoming more familiar. With these types of medical terms and devices and so as sketched out based on Tesla's description of what their ventilator is kind of how it the air flows down the line. So you have oxygen. That comes in through a hospital. Air Supply that goes into a mixing chamber which is a car part. That Tesla has on hand and then the air flows into a valve body that controls the air pressure and then then it flows through some sensors to guess Determined the mixture and the pressure of the air Then it goes through a filter before it goes into the patient's long and then when the carbon dioxide in air exits the long goes through some more sensors and then to Exhale Valve. That throttles the pressure on the patient slung. Now all this got me wondering about a Tesla's credentials. As far as like Kim. They make these precise medical devices but then I thought about how they are a company that shot one of their cars in the space on a rocket and they routinely return those rockets back to Earth. Landing them on a pad in the middle of the ocean so. I suppose that they could probably find their way around ventilator. That's that's a really really great perspective. Man That's one I didn't think about you know because I have given Elon. Musk is fair. Share of Gulf in the past in past episodes of car stuff. Because there have been times where you know he's been real Shoot for the stars land in the clouds kind of guy with his approach to things But he's definitely visionary and you're right. They did put a rocket into space. So hopefully they can put some air into lungs. What also interest you and I both about this and what we hope interest you. Listeners is that this is not the first time we have seen the auto industry. Do what's called a pivot right. Tesla's just one example of some stuff. We'll talk about in a few minutes but we have to point out that this is not a new strategy. It isn't extreme strategy but the idea that an enormous auto manufacturer might be able to change their product to help for a greater. Good is a pretty old idea. As a matter of fact if you look back to the era of World War Two here the United States the US manufacturing automobiles virtually halted from February nineteen forty two to October. Nineteen forty five. They weren't making cars or trucks. Or Semis or auto. Parts is a matter of fact. They weren't doing this on their own initiative. At first the government had put in a freeze on this the office of production management on January first nineteen forty two. They said every sale of every vehicle is going to be frozen and we're going to go on a case by case basis for people or entities that can had a contract for delivery of a vehicle. If they signed that contract before January. I will go case by case to see if they can be delivered and this is interesting ties into something else. The Office of Production Management Ripe. That was pre existing but in nineteen forty to president. Roosevelt creates something called the war production board and for anyone who has nightmares of big government. Overreach this is a crazy. Here's what they did. The war production board regulated all industrial production and all allocation of resources or fuel. That could be considered war material so they would coordinate heavy manufacturing they would also have very high level of control over things like metal rubber oil and they even put in wage and price control so when all the manufacturers in the. Us ended their production of automobiles there. In February twenty-second nineteen forty two. They didn't just you know mothball the factories they started working on other things and they started working on things that I guess the best way to say it. In most cases they were building things. You could not by your local dealership right right and I mean you have to put in a little bit of perspective too so you have World War One. That was the war to end all wars. After that you have the Great Depression the US is military was twelfth largest behind Brazil. Shortly before World War Two and it had the eighteenth largest air force which they are forces you know hugely important and this overseas battle here in on two different fronts. World War Two dotto industry. They made airplanes bombs. Torpedoes helmets tanks. Jeeps you know that sort of thing stuff this more in their wheelhouse and then One of the famous examples would be Henry Ford's willow run plant. It was then Epsilon Michigan Willow run also developed this nickname. Will it run in the press because it had some issues getting up and running but it was a it was an airplane manufacturing plant that manufactured? The twenty four liberator the long range bomber and it got to the point where it can produce almost one per hour in Henry. Ford was behind all of that. Kind of employed his assembly line techniques the plane manufacturing and they pre manufactured a lot of parts for the plane and added crazy timeline rounds broken April eighteenth of nineteen forty one. The building was dedicated in June sixteenth. Nineteen forty one. They started making planes later that year. It took him a little while to get up to full capacity on this as you can imagine. There's a lot of you know planning and things like that. They were working with consolidated aircraft. They were the company. The designed the plane Henry Ford had engineers working out in California as well. They produce five miles of drawings per day so thirty thousand drawings in total and by the time they made it back to consolidated ten thousand of those drawings or obsolete and apparently consolidated also had some rework along the way so they would be calling up willow run from time to time redirecting the plant to do things a certain way because also with these aeroplanes came some quality control issues however the mere fact they were able to switch over relatively quickly and make these gigantic airplanes on the scale that they did is very impressive. Despite some of the issues they had with manufacturing along the way it's tough to really convey the enormity of the change here both in terms of speed and in terms of scale so in April of one thousand nine hundred forty two while. Willow run is inaction these different representatives from the auto industry here in the states form..