New York Assemblyman Sean Ryan, requested that Tesla Inc. produce ventilators at its state-subsidized solar factory in Buffalo, NY. Ryan contacted Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, via letter on Tuesday. New York has been the hardest hit state by the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 20,000 cases.
New York state has estimated that it will need 18,000-37,000 ventilators to effectively treat all the projected severe cases. Unfortunately, the state’s hospitals are currently operating with only 6,000 ventilators.
The tech giant had previously announced a plan to start producing ventilators, the breathing apparatus needed in severe cases of COVID-19, to help overcrowded hospitals that are lacking in equipment, but they haven’t specified a production site.
The Tesla solar factory had been in the midst of hiring, but the state shutdown will likely mean it won’t be up and running until after this first wave of cases passes. For the time being, Ryan suggests Tesla make New York its homebase for ventilator production. The state has the greatest need and Tesla has a suitable place for production. Also, state-funding for the factory came with the promise of employing 1,460 New York workers. The deadline for that benchmark is in a couple of days and failing to fulfill the requirement calls for a $41.2 million fine. The ventilator production plan would be a win-win situation, with the state receiving needed medical supplies and the company avoiding the huge penalty.
Ryan wrote, “It makes sense that increased ventilator production would happen here to ensure we can meet the growing demand of our health-care system.” Tesla hasn’t yet responded to the inquiry.