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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.

Go deeper

House passes $768 billion defense spending bill

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The House approved a $768 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 2022 fiscal year in a bipartisan 316-113 vote on Thursday.

Why it matters: The annual bill, which authorizes Pentagon spending levels and guides policy for the department, would require women to register for the military draft, among other provisions.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans’ secret lobbying

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The five Senate Republicans who helped negotiate and draft the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill have been privately courting their Republican colleagues to pass the measure in the House.

Why it matters: House GOP leaders are actively urging their members to oppose the bill. The senators are working to undercut that effort as Monday shapes up as a do-or-die moment for the bipartisan bill.

CBC members nix border visit

A Haitian migrant carries a toddler on his shoulders today as he crosses the Rio Grande River. Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP via Getty Images

Several members of the Congressional Black Caucus weighed visiting the U.S.-Mexico border this week to investigate the conditions faced by Haitian migrants and protest allegations of inhumane treatment by U.S. agents.

Why it matters: It's a thorny proposition both in terms of timing and messaging. Going assures a new wave of negative headlines for President Biden amid sinking popularity. And with congressional deadlines in the coming days over infrastructure, a possible government shutdown and debt-limit crisis, Democrats can't afford to lose any votes in the House.

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