An Environmentally Friendly Live TV Truck Arrives

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ROSSLYN, VA. — The flagship television station for TEGNA, the CBS affiliate serving Washington Capital Region, has put the broadcasting industry’s first “environmentally friendly low emission live truck” into service.


Now in use at WUSA-9 is the “ECO9,” a 2022 Toyota Highlander XLE Hybrid conceived by the station and built by engineers at Frontline Communications.

Washington Area Toyota Dealers also played a key role, serving as the launch partner and exclusive sponsor.

“Our environment matters, and we’ve committed to making a positive impact through our work, which includes today’s introduction of ECO9,” said WUSA-9 President/GM Richard Dyer. “ECO9 might be the first of its kind, but we hope it will be a standard setter as we begin testing its capabilities here in the DMV.”

Equipped with three cameras — two fixed internal and one 360-degree external — ECO9’s electronics for broadcasting run on a state-of-the-art rechargeable lithium-ion battery system (Li-ION batteries) with supplemental charging from solar panels on the roof. ECO9’s broadcasting system can operate continually with the truck’s engine turned off for six hours. Capabilities also include remote live camera signal transmission with video switching and professional LED lighting for in-the-field reporting.

“ECO9 is the next step in the evolution of broadcast trucks and is groundbreaking for WUSA9,” said Rob Gibson, who serves as WUSA’s Director of Technology and Operations. “The live truck’s broadcasting system allows it to run completely on battery power during an entire news shift. This technology ensures we are serving the greater good of our communities by sharing the important news of the day while simultaneously being responsible stewards of our natural resources.”

WUSA’s new green vehicle will be powered by a lithium-ion battery called a LiFePO4 battery, which consists of a chemical compound that makes it one of the safest batteries on the market. Commonly used in mobile phones, RVs, boats and golf carts, this battery is also the ideal choice for ECO9 as it is expected to handle more than 5,000 cycles and can discharge close to zero and recharge. With solar supplemental charging, ECO9 allows for trickle charging during the day while it is out in natural light.

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