Mar 9, 2021 - Health

Electric food truck reborn as mobile vaccine unit

Image of an electric vaccine vehicle  intended for mobile clinics

Sketch of electric vaccine vehicle. Image: Ayro

The maker of a compact electric truck originally marketed for food service is focusing on a new, more urgent purpose: a mobile vaccine unit.

Why it matters: COVID-19 vaccine distribution is a logistical challenge in many communities, with people waiting in snaking lines of cars — and some lacking transportation altogether. Ayro's "electric vaccine vehicle" aims to address those challenges by setting up mobile stations to bring vaccines to the people.

Details: The battery-powered vehicle is equipped with ultra-low temperature freezer and refrigeration units, including Bluetooth-enabled data loggers and temperature monitoring devices to make sure vaccines are stored and handled according to CDC guidelines.

  • The vehicle's battery has a 50-mile driving range plus approximately six to eight hours of equipment operation. It can provide all-day operations — even indoors — if plugged into a standard 110-volt outlet.
  • It can also be adapted to future uses like disaster relief, flu shot clinics or food service, the company says.

The backstory: Ayro had been working with partners to design customizable EVs for food delivery on college campuses in lieu of crowded dining halls.

  • "We quickly realized that experience designing EVs with hot and cold storage and hygiene precautions translated well to mobile vaccination vehicle design," said Ayro CEO Rod Keller.

The catch: The EVV is categorized as a low-speed vehicle (up to 25 mph). It's up to local ordinances to determine whether it can be legally operated on public streets.

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