Heat kills viruses. That’s the theory behind new technology introduced by Ford that superheats police cars to 133 degrees for 15 minutes at a time. Ford says the new tech, available as a software patch for its line of police cars, reduces the SARS-Cov-2 virus responsible for causing COVID-19, by as much as 99 percent.
Police are exposed to a wide number of people who could potentially be carriers of the virus. The new heat tool may help to protect them from contracting coronavirus. The software is compatible with the 2013-2019 models of Police Interceptor Utility hybrid SUVs.
The software patch serves to activate the powertrain and climate control systems of vehicles, temporarily heating up the car cabin to temperatures of over 133 degrees Fahrenheit. During this time, the heat and fan settings operate at full blast, as the software monitors temperatures outside.
The new Ford software was developed in tandem with Ohio State University scientists. “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,” said Jeff Jahnes and Jesse Kwiek, laboratory supervisors from the Ohio State department of microbiology.
Some experts argue that SARS-Cov-2 can survive temperatures of up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit for as long as an hour. But Ford doesn’t claim its new tech will kill off every last bit of every strain of the virus. The goal is only to reduce the level of virus remaining in police cruisers after use.
Ford has accompanied the superheating process with some warning signs to keep people away from the cars until they are safely cool for use. Tail and hazard lights will flash according to a special pattern during the heating, and the lights will change in such a way as to signal that the process is complete. There will also be instrument lights to note the progress of the heating process. As a final safety measure, the heating process simply doesn’t work if anyone is inside the car.
Larger police departments with in-house service centers will be able to install the software patch using their own diagnostic tools. Other police units can be in touch with Ford dealers in their own area to install the patch. For now, however, regular civilians will not have access to this superhot software.
Talk about staying out of the hot seat!