Coronavirus & COVID-19 Automotive News

In coronavirus COVID-19 news are GM, NuVinAir and Ford.

GM Masks Certified N95

General Motors has received N95 certification for the filtering facepiece respirators made at the company’s Warren, Michigan facility. The approval was completed through the new public-health emergency process implemented by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In response to the urgent need to increase the inventory of NIOSH-approved respirators during the COVID-19 pandemic, the staff at NIOSH’s National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory has worked tirelessly to quickly evaluate new domestic respirator applications for approval. These efforts are helping to increase the supply of available certified filtering facepiece respirators while ensuring that new respirators meet the protective standards workers need and expect from NIOSH-approved respirators.

As defined by NIOSH, the term N95 refers to the filter class, not the respirator. However, many filtering facepiece respirators have an N95 class filter and many people refer to them as N95 respirators. A filtering facepiece respirator that filters out at least 95 percent of airborne particles during “worst case” testing using a “most-penetrating” sized particle is given a 95 rating.

Achieving an N95 rating required an entirely new manufacturing process with four separate stations to help create a tight seal around the user’s face:

  • Station 1: Four layers of fabric are sandwiched together, tack-welded in place and then cut into rectangular “blanks”
  • Station 2: Blanks are loaded into a template that welds the outer perimeter as well as the pocket for the wire nose piece
  • Station 3: The wire nose piece is inserted, the blank is folded horizontally and a sonic weld in the shape of a hockey stick is installed from the nose to chin
  • Station 4: The excess material is trimmed

To expedite the launch of the N95 line, GM repurposed sonic welders from the Brownstown Battery Assembly plant. These sonic welders were previously used to form sub-assemblies in the Chevrolet Volt’s battery packs. For the N95 line, the equipment was updated with new templates to create the weld patterns needed for respirators.

After being trimmed to shape, the N95 masks follow the existing assembly process at Warren: ear bands are manually welded in place; completed masks are subject to a quality check; and then masks are cleaned, bagged and prepared for shipment.

As with face masks, GM will donate some of the N95 respirators to frontline workers. To date, the Warren facility has delivered more than 4 million face masks and 230,000 face shields to frontline workers.

Eco-Friendly NuVinAir Disinfects

NuVinAir Global  announced its latest product — ReKlenz-X® — an EPA-approved, eco-friendly disinfectant that kills 99.9% of germs, bacteria, and viruses without compromising a vehicle’s interior or the safety of those applying it. The Dallas-based company, which offers a ‘Total Health’ suite of proprietary vehicle-cleanliness solutions and hygienic consulting for automotive businesses across the United States, now includes a nontoxic solution that is proven to reduce cross-contamination of germs on high-touch surfaces.

ReKlenz-X, which is available in 32-ounce spray bottles for use through automotive dealerships, detail shops, rental-car companies, service centers, and vehicle fleets, is powered by a proprietary, oxygen-enriched formula that quickly kills bacteria and viruses by destroying their cell walls through a process called oxidation. The product contains no harsh chemicals, sticky residue, or dangerous volatile organic compounds (VOCs), resulting in a clean and disinfected vehicle with no chemical smell.

“Until now, any possible solution for killing the coronavirus was wrought with harmful chemicals, expensive equipment, and residue-leaving application devices that destroy the vehicle’s interior,” said Troy Blackwell, Chief Operating Officer for NuVinAir Global. “As a disinfectant and sanitizer, it can be applied to all interior vehicle surfaces using a microfiber towel. Paired with our premier detailing solution, ReNuSurface®, as well as our patented Cyclone treatment, it takes deep cleaning to a whole new level for our automotive partners and their customers.”

ReKlenz-X is an approved product on the EPA’s “List N” of disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2 (formerly 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19). Therefore, it can be used against SARS-CoV-2 when used in accordance with NuVinAir Global’s suggested use instructions.

Ford Grant to LAUL

Ford Motor Company this week awarded the Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL) a $100,000.00 grant. The grant will provide support for the Los Angeles Urban League’s Emergency Business Assistance Program (ECAP), an economic initiative that seeks to provide business consultation and emergency capital to Black business owners negatively affected by COVID-19. The program will enable many Black businesses to continue their stabilizing influence in the communities they serve during the COVID-19 pandemic.  ECAP seeks to provide small grants, combined with technical assistance and advisory services, to Black and African American business owners through National Urban League affiliates in Los Angeles, Detroit, New Orleans, Atlanta, Chicago and New York.

The ECAP pilot program will provide comparable $100,000 grants to six National Urban League affiliate cities with qualifying Black small business owners – who remain an important pillar of the economy and yet at a competitive disadvantage for accessing relief available due to COVID-19. In addition to providing capital relief, these Black small business owners will also gain access to pre- and post-grant counseling to ensure the survival and growth of the Black small business community.

The Los Angeles version of the project will be managed by Los Angeles Urban League staff, with referrals from the Metro Business Service Center (BSC) which is co-located in their office. The Metro BSC provides technical assistance to minority-owned businesses located in South Los Angeles, specifically those situated in Leimert Park and along the Crenshaw Boulevard corridor.

Cedars Sinai Hospital joined with the Ford Motor Company Fund by contributing an additional $75,000.00 to the program, and the Urban League hopes other companies and foundations will contribute to expand the program’s impact. “We’re proud to be collaborating with Cedars Sinai and Ford Motor Company Fund and thank them in helping us leverage our consultation program which helps our client businesses get access to training, mentorship, capital and resources,” said Michael Lawson, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League. “We look forward to strengthening our partnership with these outstanding organizations,” Lawson added.

The Emergency Capital program will also provide at least 60 “micro-grants” of $2,000$5,000 to qualifying businesses in Los Angeles during the remainder of 2020. In addition to the grants, the Urban League’s consultants will help grant recipients get access to other capital and resources, potentially preserving income for more than 200 employees and operators of the 60-plus grantee companies.

“Small businesses are a cornerstone of the African American community and play a vital role in their economic success,” said Pamela Alexander, director of Community Development, Ford Motor Company Fund.  “The impact of the COVID pandemic has created economic uncertainty that necessitates immediate action. Our long-term partnership with the National Urban League allows us to quickly mobilize an initiative such as The Emergency Capital Access Program to get immediate assistance to those businesses in need.”