The response to COVID-19 has required all hands on deck, and carmakers have pitched in to provide support as the global vaccination effort has ramped up. Usually, it’s in the form of lending production capacity, but Toyota is pitching in with a gnarly overlander that finally has an especially good reason to exist: vaccine delivery.
Toyota partnered with B Medical Systems and one of its own subsidiaries, Toyota Tsusho, to outfit the Land Cruiser 78 with the refrigeration required to keep the vaccine viable. The Land Cruiser will go to remote locations in developing countries, where many delivery vehicles would have difficulty traveling.
The joint project begins with a Land Cruiser 78, which is powered by a 4.2 liter in-line six-cylinder diesel engine backed by a five-speed manual transmission and a low-range transfer case. The truck is outfitted with a roof rack, grab rails to access cargo up high, and it has a snorkel for the engine air intake.
The truck’s 1HZ engine is fed by twin diesel tanks, each with a capacity of 90 liters, for a total capacity of 180 liters or 48 gallons. In other words, this is a serious off-roader. Not to mention a very stylish one with its flat white paint and cool steel wheels.
Toyota then installs a CF850 vaccine refrigerator from B Medical Systems. This fridge has a 396-liter capacity that holds 400 doses of vaccine. The refrigerator is powered by the Land Cruiser when it’s in motion, but it’s also attached to an independent power system that can run for 16 hours without the truck.
The World Health Organization has prequalified the truck for vaccine delivery, and Toyota is already manufacturing its first batch of vaccine-delivering Land Cruisers. Beyond serving as a delivery vehicle specifically for COVID-19 vaccines, the Land Cruiser will also serve in developing countries for the treatment of vaccine-preventable diseases.
Toyota says that an estimated 20 percent of vaccines go to waste because of temperature changes during transit. Modern delivery networks can deliver these vaccines efficiently, but last-mile delivery can fail due to the lack of infrastructure in remote regions.
That’s where these overlanders come in! The tough trucks trade their bench seats for fridges and can reach “even the most remote corners in the world,” according to B Medical Systems. This is one awesome and useful truck that you won’t see at the mall or the local Starbucks, because it’s too busy off-roading for the good of mankind.