Honda has delivered ten specially upfitted minivans to the City of Detroit.
The global coronavirus pandemic has elicited some truly generous responses from the business community, with numerous automakers lending their manufacturing expertise to produce personal protective equipment for frontline workers and ventilators for treating virus patients. Honda has done its fair share to help the effort in Japan, donating the use of some specially upfitted Honda Odyssey minivans to safely shuttle patients and healthcare professionals.
After seeing news reports about the vans, some city and state officials in Michigan's greater Detroit area asked Honda if the company would be willing to press similar vehicles into service there, and Honda was happy to oblige.
This week, Honda delivered ten Honda Odyssey minivans to the City of Detroit, fitted with provisions to help lessen the risk of infection for the driver. Those provisions include a plastic barrier between the driver and passenger compartments, and modifications to the HVAC system to maintain higher pressure in the front, mitigating the risk of virus-containing droplets infiltrating the driver area.
The minivans were conceived of and built in less than two weeks, and they'll be used primarily to transport potential Covid-19 patients to and from testing, as well as ferrying healthcare workers on the front lines of the Detroit-area virus response.
Providing widespread access to testing for community members who may have been exposed to the coronavirus is crucially important to flattening the curve and keeping the rate of infection in check so as not to overwhelm the healthcare system. But the upfitted Honda Odysseys are just one of the company's initiatives to help the global virus response, with other efforts including building ventilator parts with Dynaflo, 3D printing face shield components, and donating personal protective equipment and money to combat food insecurity in North America.
"Transportation is a critical component of ensuring every Detroiter has access to a test," says Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. "We are very appreciative of Honda for choosing Detroit to deploy these newly modified vehicles."