GM to start ventilator production this week

GM has been hard at work prepping its Kokomo plant for these ventilators, which will be largely hand-built.

General Motors

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General Motors and the federal government last week agreed on a contract where the automaker will supply the feds with thousands of ventilators for those suffering from the coronavirus. Now, it’s time for everyone to put their noses to the collective grindstone and get down to the real work.

General Motors will begin production on 30,000 ventilators this week, Automotive News reports, following last week’s contract finalization. The automaker’s first shipment, which will comprise some 6,000 ventilators, is said to be on or ahead of schedule with a target shipping date of June 1. It’s working closely with a partner, Ventec Systems, to ensure the ventilators can provide the breathing power that coronavirus victims might need during hospitalization.

GM didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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AN says each V Plus Pro ventilator will cost approximately $16,000 each, about as much as Chevrolet’s smallest car, the Spark. They will be produced at GM’s factory in Kokomo, Indiana. A couple hundred employees have already been working on this project, and the automaker will hire a few hundred more temporary workers to ensure production is moving as fast as possible.

It’s not just ventilators, either. Per AN’s story, GM will need to produce at least 10 weeks’ worth of replaceable parts for each machine. The automaker is also producing masks for health care workers at a transmission plant in Michigan that was previously shuttered.

General Motors was already preparing to build these ventilators with Ventec when the Trump administration invoked the Defense Production Act, which compels private industry to accept contracts for products pertaining to the national defense. The pre-DPA talks allegedly fell apart over discussions of cost. The act has also been invoked with companies such as 3M to produce additional personal protective equipment.

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