Car companies all over the world are shutting down their automobile production. But they are, of course, not standing still either. Development of new (electric) models is continuing. And there is a new development underway on the production side as well. More and more companies are offering to make face masks, surgical masks and respirators.
For example, the BBC reports that Fiat has started production of one million face masks in China this week. In the UK, Formula 1 teams are trying to develop medical equipment that can help in the fight against corona. The supplier Prodrive is involved in this, among other things.
? Motorsport company Prodrive are turning some of their engineering expertise to making ventilators for the #NHS to treat people with #coronavirus ⤵️
More here: https://t.co/LzGAWozkwa pic.twitter.com/NgWA3OPXBS
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) March 23, 2020
Fast corona test from Bosch
In the United States, General Motors, Ford and Tesla have declared their willingness to redirect their production. Ford is working with 3M and General Electric. In India, the government has enlisted the help of Maruti Suzuki, M&M, Tata Motors and Hyundai. M&M is now working with ventilator exporter Skanray Technologies. According to Reuters, the company Zettl Automotive among others has entered the face protection market in Switzerland and Germany. And technology and services supplier Bosch announced today that it is has developed a rapid Corona test.
In The Netherlands, car and truck manufacture has also come to a standstill. DAF, Scania and VDL Nedcar have suspended production for four weeks. They join a long list of factories in Europe and the rest of the world. These include Volkswagen, Peugeot, Renault, Audi, Ferrari, Daimler, BMW, Audi, Toyota, Honda, Nissan plus, since yesterday, Austin Martin in Great Britain.
Approximately 14 million people work in the automobile industry in Europe. It is the largest industrial employer. Meanwhile, in China the first factories are in the process of cautiously starting up again.
Development of electric cars to proceed as planned
Fresh start-ups in the automotive sector are likely to suffer from the corona crisis to a lesser extent. At least, this is the case for the Dutch company Lightyear (based in Helmond) which is currently working on a solar car. “For us, the work is continuing on full speed ahead,” says spokeswoman Tessie Hartjes. “Most of the work that is currently being done is digital and is focused on development. So, that can just keep on going. Tests will also need to be carried out in the coming months, but we will find a solution for that.”