McLaren and Nissan have joined aerospace company Meggitt in the race to develop and manufacture ventilators. The equipment is desperately needed in the fight against coronavirus, which attacks the respiratory system.
Ventilators are in short supply in the UK at the moment, such that prime minister Boris Johnson has called upon industrial leaders to redirect their focus.
Thus McLaren, which was hard at work preparing to deliver 106 seven-figure Speedtail hypercars, is now helping make medical equipment.
The initiative is working under the leadership of Dick Elsy, chief executive of High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a Solihull-based research centre.
The target is to manufacture 5,000 ventilators as soon as possible, and follow up with a further 30,000. The UK’s current ventilator supply is around 5,000 – far short of what may be needed. The effort is targeting the manufacture of a basic prototype by next week.
At last count (Wednesday 19 March), the number of people infected with coronavirus in the UK sat was around 2,600, with more than 100 deaths.
According to sources close to The Financial Times, McLaren is lending its design expertise to the effort, while Nissan is leading on the manufacturing side. Other aerospace companies working on the project include GKN, Airbus, Thales and Renishaw. Airbus, for instance, is lending its 3D printing capabilities to the project.
This follows news yesterday that Vauxhall was getting in on the ventilator effort, lending assistance with 3D printing. Jaguar Land Rover and Rolls-Royce have also said they will provide support.