Honda Motor Co said it has remodeled 50 of its minivans to transport COVID-19 patients to hospitals and quarantine facilities in Japan, sealing off the rear section of the vehicles to keep drivers safe from infection.
The Japanese automaker has placed an airtight divide between the driver and the rear passenger areas of the vans and tweaked their air conditioning systems to enable fresh air to enter through the front near the base of the windshield wipers, pass through to the rear passenger area through vents and exit through the back, Reuters reported.
The company said that the one-way ventilation system installed in its Odyssey and Step WGN minivan models ensures that air from the rear section does not enter the driver’s space, reducing the risk of infection.
According to Reuters, the company began lending these cars to health authorities in Tokyo, and as of Tuesday, two vehicles had been delivered, a company spokesman said. Eventually, it plans to also supply the vehicles to nearby Saitama prefecture, he added.
Both companies have also set up production lines at their plants at home and abroad to manufacture face shields, masks, and other medical equipment, much like other carmakers around the world.