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The Explorer Interceptors will use the climate control to warm up to 133 degrees to get corona out of the cracks.

By Jake Lingeman, 27 May 2020

Coronavirus can be killed by disinfectant, but if you’re cleaning a car, just imagine all the nooks and crannies the microscopic organism can get into—places your bleach wipes can’t reach. But Ford has a plan to use heat, specifically the heater in its Police Interceptor Utility vehicles, to kill 99 percent of the virus in just 15 minutes.

The Blue Oval, which has already done a lot to help the country over the last two months, has updated its software in newer Explorer cop cars—and has a tool that connects to the onboard diagnostics port to do the same in older ones—to kick the heat on, keep the revs high and raise the interior temperature to 133 degrees Fahrenheit.

“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 vehicle’s powertrain and climate control systems work together automatically to elevate passenger compartment temperatures. The software warms up the engine to an elevated level, and both heat and fan settings operate on high. The software automatically monitors interior temperatures until the entire passenger compartment hits the optimal level, then that temperature is maintained for 15 minutes.


ford workers test heat control software

Ford workers test the heat controls.


checking heating progress for killing covid 19

Checking the progress on heating a vehicle to 133 degrees.

The company has already conducted trials in New York, LA, Michigan, Massachusetts, Ohio and Florida.

Officers will be able to monitor the progress of the bake by way of the hazard lights and taillights. Once the vehicle has sustained the 132.8-degree temp for 15 minutes, the AC will come on to cool the cabin back to normal temperatures.

However, Ford does caution that ambient temperatures, partitions and other equipment may “impede temperatures from reaching the threshold” and that the heating is meant to supplement normal cleaning procedures.

 
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