ŠKODA AUTO has been helping to combat the spread of the coronavirus for several weeks now. The car manufacturer is, for example, donating 100 ŠKODA OCTAVIAs worth a total of 85 million Czech korunas to aid agencies in the Czech Republic. Furthermore, the brand has been keeping more than 200 HoppyGo vehicles as well as 150 BeRider electric scooters available for charities, municipalities and volunteers. But that’s not all, the company has also been supporting the development and implementation of a 3D printing process for the production of FFP3 respirators, which offer the highest level of protection, and ŠKODA Logistics has been helping distribute face shields to general practitioners and hospitals.
Selection process to award 100 ŠKODA OCTAVIAs underway
Since 17 April, social and medical aid agencies have been able to apply for one of 100 ŠKODA OCTAVIA COMBIs with a total worth of around 85 million Czech korunas. Now, the applications will be assessed prior to handing the car keys over to the successful applicants.
Very positive feedback for vehicles made available by HoppyGo and BeRider
Since the Czech Government declared a national emergency on 12 March, a fleet of more than 200 ŠKODA vehicles has covered a total of 227,000 km across the Czech Republic. The cars have been used to help 50,900 people and have delivered more than 20,000 meals as well as essential shopping. Furthermore, they have distributed 240,000 respirators and face masks as well as disinfectants and other urgently required items. Some of the vehicles have been used by members of the urban coronavirus emergency task force.
The fleet has been supplied by ŠKODA AUTO, the Uniqway car-sharing platform as well as several ŠKODA dealerships and has then been made available by HoppyGo – a peer-to-peer car-sharing service for private individuals, developed by ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab.
Jarmila Plachá, Head of the ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab, pointed out that, “We have made use of all the experience gained so far with the HoppyGo car-sharing platform to provide fast and effective help with our fleet exactly where our vehicles are most needed at the time. The figures speak for themselves. The offer has been very well received so far, and we’ve had very positive feedback.”
Dagmar Hoferková, coordinator of the ADRA Volunteer Services, added, “We greatly appreciate the support being supplied by the HoppyGo platform. The coordinators of our volunteer centres have been using the vehicles throughout the Czech Republic to provide the elderly and other people in need with food, essential shopping, protective equipment and medicinal products. The vehicles also give us more flexibility with regards to organising other tasks, and our collaboration with hospitals and social services.”
The 150 BeRider e-scooters, which ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab has been providing free of charge for medical and nursing staff in Prague, have also been in demand: 250 users have covered almost 16,000 km on the 1,600 journeys made between 26 March and the end of April. ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab has also set up new rental zones in the Czech capital so that the various hospitals can be reached.
ŠKODA AUTO supports the development, production and distribution of respirators
In addition to providing vehicles, ŠKODA has also been supporting the development and production of respirators, and has been helping to distribute them to medical staff once produced. The Prototype and Model Construction department, part of ŠKODA’s Technical Development division, is using its 3D printers to make components that were jointly developed by the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics (CIIRC) and the Czech Technical University (CTU).
David Vaněk, Head of Prototype and Model Construction at ŠKODA AUTO, explained, “The Czech Technical University has chosen to work with polyamide and use multi-jet fusion technology. This printing method ensures low porosity and guarantees a homogeneous end product that also features the necessary surface properties. A smooth surface is particularly important for respirators, as it allows them to be disinfected as easily as possible.”
To date, ŠKODA has supported the production of 795 respirators, and partners of the project have also contributed several hundred units. Project management is being handled by Czech 3D printing specialist 3Dees – an experienced ŠKODA partner; the Czech Ministry of Health is taking care of distribution. Many of the respirators were donated to the Klaudián hospital in Mladá Boleslav, while other units have been given to clinics in the vicinity of the ŠKODA plants in Kvasiny and Vrchlabí.
Furthermore, Prusa Research, another ŠKODA AUTO partner and leading manufacturer of 3D printers, has been producing face shields, some of which have been printed directly at ŠKODA from a single data set. To date, ŠKODA’s Logistics department has delivered 20,000 of these shields to doctors.
ŠKODA also manufactures transparent face shields at its Mladá Boleslav site. For example, with the help of the Prototype and Model Construction department, the Kvasiny plant, the pilot line and the ŠKODA Academy, more than 2,500 of these have been delivered to local hospitals to date.