While coronavirus vaccine production and distribution is ramping up across the globe, there are still plenty of hurdles to overcome. In particular, there’s the issue of getting vaccines to remote parts of the globe. To help with that, Toyota, in collaboration with B-Medical Systems, has developed a special version of the Land Cruiser 78 commercial SUV, the large-capacity version of the 70 Series, to deliver vaccines. It’s also the first one approved by the World Health Organization for delivery duty.
It’s a fairly simple upfit. B-Medical Systems created a refrigerator that would fit onboard the Land Cruiser with an overall volume of about 14 cubic feet. The refrigerator is powered by the SUV while it’s running, but it also has a battery that will keep it cooled for up to 16 hours without being powered by the SUV or being plugged in to another power source. As for the Land Cruiser 78, it’s not particularly unique, but with its 4.5-liter turbodiesel engine, low-range four-wheel-drive system, solid axles front and rear, and a history dating back to the 1980s, it’s capable enough with easily available parts to make it an ideal transporter around the world.
Thought these refrigerator-fitted Land Cruisers will be used to transport COVID-19 vaccines, that’s not their only purpose. They’ll also be used to transport other vaccines, particularly for infants, that need to be kept at low temperatures. Toyota notes that studies from UNICEF and GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance as much as 20% of cold-storage vaccines meant for infants have to be discarded because of temperature issues during transportation. So vehicles such as this Land Cruiser could make a big difference in keeping people healthy not just in the middle of this pandemic, but for years to come.