GM said Friday that it is working with Ventec Life Systems to help increase production of respiratory care products such as ventilators that are needed by a growing number of hospitals as the COVID-19 pandemics spreads throughout the U.S.
The partnership is part of StopTheSpread.org, a coordinated effort of private companies to respond to COVId-19, a disease caused by coronavirus.
Ventec will use GM’s logistics, purchasing and manufacturing expertise to build more ventilators. The companies did not provide further details such as when production might be able to ramp up or how many ventilators would be produced.
GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said in a statement that GM is working closely with Ventec to rapidly scale up production.
“We will continue to explore ways to help in this time of crisis,” Barra added.
The need for ventilators is urgent as cases of COVID-19 pop up with increasing frequency as widespread testing begins. While some people with COVID-19 reported more mild symptoms, others have experienced severe respiratory problems and need to be hospitalized.
The shortage has prompted automakers to investigate ways of ramping up ventilator production. Volkswagen and Ford have reportedly either talked to the White House or committed to looking at the problem. Volkswagen said Friday it has created a task force to look into using 3D printing to make hospital ventilators.
Elon Musk tweeted Friday that Tesla and SpaceX employees are “working on ventilators” even though he doesn’t believe they will be needed. His confirmation on Twitter that both of the companies he leads are working on ventilators comes a day after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made a direct plea to Musk to help alleviate a shortage at hospitals gearing up to combat COVID-19.
Musk didn’t provide specifics what “working on ventilators” means, what Tesla factory might be used, the possible capacity or when he planned to begin production.