- ford is testing software in its police interceptor utility suvs that can heat the cabin of the vehicles to 133 degrees for 15 minutes to kill off the novel coronavirus.
- the software taps into the vehicle's climate-control system as well as the powertrain to generate the heat.
- the software, if made available, will be installed into current interceptor vehicles by dealers.
ford has developed and is now testing software that can heat the cabin of police interceptor utility vehicles—the ford explorers built for police use—to 133 degrees for 15 minutes, which ford claims can reduce the concentration of the virus by 99 percent.
the software heats the vehicle to 133 degrees through tapping into the vehicle's own climate control and powertrain. ford worked with researchers at ohio state university to reach the conclusion that maintaining the temperature for 15 minutes was long enough to kill the virus.
“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 percent on interior surfaces and materials used inside police interceptor utility vehicles," jeff jahnes and jesse kwiek, laboratory supervisors in the osu department of microbiology, said in a statement.
the software isn’t something that can only come on new vehicles; if ford eventually makes it available, it can be uploaded by dealers into any of the 2013 to 2019 model interceptors currently on the road. as ford notes, this method, if proved effective, will be more thorough than using disinfectants to clean the interior of a vehicle and could be especially useful in a vehicle that may be used to transport sick patients.
"officers can now use this self-cleaning mode as an extra layer of protection inside the vehicle in areas where manual cleaning is prone to be overlooked," stephen tyler, ford police brand marketing manager, said in a statement. "this virus is an invisible enemy, and we are proud to provide a solution to help the law enforcement community fight it."