Ford’s new tech can cook the coronavirus out of a car’s interior
It seems Ford has figured out a sure-fire way to ensure your car is completely devoid of COVID-19 germs — turn its interior into the hellfire of Death Valley.
Essentially what the system does – and it’s currently only available on Ford’s Police Interceptor Utility vehicle – is cook the car’s cabin to a crisp.
In conjunction with Ohio State University, Ford determined if it heated the interior up to 56 C for 15 minutes, it could render 99 per cent of the virus clinging to the car’s interior bits inactive.
So, using the waste heat from the engine and with new software governing the climate control system, the A/C system blasts the coronavirus with heat exceeding the hottest day in Death Valley.
“Our studies with Ford Motor Company indicate that exposing coronaviruses to temperatures of 56 degrees Celsius, or 132.8 degrees Fahrenheit, for 15 minutes reduces the viral concentration by greater than 99 per cent on interior surfaces and materials used inside Police Interceptor Utility vehicles,” said Jeff Jahnes and Jesse Kwiek, laboratory supervisors at The Ohio State University department of microbiology. This, of course, is very important for first responders who don’t have the luxury of pre-screening their “guests.”
This heating process, of course, sanitizes the vehicles when officers are not inside and, according to Ford, the heat has the ability to seep into crevices and hard-to-reach areas, meaning it reduces human error in applying chemical disinfectants.
And law enforcement can monitor the system’s progress, hazard lights and taillights flashing in a pre-set pattern to notify when the process has begun and then changing patterns to signal completion. A cool-down process brings the temperature down so there is no frying of posterior on re-entering the car.
It turns out a discussion with the New York City Police Department (one of the U.S. cities hardest hit by the pandemic) alerted Ford to a need for a more efficient disinfecting process. “Law enforcement officers are being dispatched as emergency responders in some cases where ambulances may not be available,” said Stephen Tyler, Ford police brand marketing manager. “During one trip, officers may be transporting a coronavirus patient to a hospital, while another trip may involve an occupant who may be asymptomatic.”
According to Ford, the software update is already being rolled out to police departments in the U.S. and Canada. Larger departments with their own service centres can install it themselves while smaller fleets can go to their local dealers to install the software on 2013 to 2019 Interceptors. If COVID-19 really is going to hit with a second wave come next fall, maybe all our cars should be so equipped.
Driving.Ca – David Booth