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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

Updated 1 hour ago - Science

NTSB probes crash that killed 10 in Alabama as storm lashes Southeast

Flash-flooding in Bloomington, Indiana, on Saturday. Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The National Transportation Safety Board announced Sunday that it's investigating a fiery multi-vehicle weekend crash in Alabama that killed 10 people, including nine children, as storms swept the Southeast.

The big picture: Saturday's crash on Interstate 65, south of Montgomery, occurred amid a tropical depression that left 13 people dead in Alabama as it triggered flash floods and spawned tornadoes that razed "dozens of homes," per AP.

Laurel Hubbard to become 1st openly trans athlete to compete at Olympics

New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, when she became the first openly transgender athlete to represent NZ. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The New Zealand Olympic Committee has announced that Laurel Hubbard has been selected for the women's weightlifting team for the Tokyo Games — making her the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the event.

The big picture: Hubbard, 43, is part of a five-member Kiwi weightlifting team and will compete in the women's super heavyweight category. Meanwhile, BMX rider Chelsea Wolfe will become the first openly trans athlete to travel to the Olympics with Team USA, when she arrives in Tokyo as a reserve rider.

American Airlines cuts hundreds of flights amid demand surge

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

American Airlines announced Sunday that it's cutting some 950 flights from its schedule, including 296 this weekend, to reduce potential pressure on its operations, the Wall Street Journal first reported.

Driving the news: The U.S. vaccine rollout has led to a massive increase in travel bookings. The airline noted in an emailed statement that it's facing an "incredibly quick ramp up of customer demand."

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