WUSA 9 & Toyota Make Environmental History with First-of-it’s-Kind ECO9 TV News Truck 

In a groundbreaking partnership with Toyota, WUSA9 introduced ECO9, the station’s first-of-its-kind eco-hybrid news car, taking TEGNA’s commitment to serving the greater good of our communities a huge step forward in the right direction.  

Meredith Cunningham Published: August 4, 2022

At TEGNA, our purpose is to serve the greater good of our communities – and that includes doing our part to help the environment. For WUSA9, our affiliate in DC, that commitment just took a huge step forward in the right direction.  

In a groundbreaking partnership with Toyota, WUSA9 introduced ECO9, the station’s first-of-its-kind eco-hybrid news car. The heavily modified Toyota Highlander is an environmentally friendly, super low emission live truck that boasts 35 miles per gallon. It’s powered by lithium-ion batteries and is equipped with solar panels to help cut down on vehicle costs and limit Co2 emissions produced in transit for on-the-scene reporting.   

As WUSA9 goes the distance to cover local breaking news, ECO9 leaves a green footprint in DC as the station keeps its community up-to-date. 

In the past, you would need the news vehicle to run to have the equipment work. With ECO9, it doesn’t need to run to power the equipment our news teams use,” explains Kareem Young, a Senior Account Executive at WUSA9. “That’s what makes this so extremely unique and groundbreaking. Hopefully, this will revolutionize the way news is done out in the field.”  

Meanwhile, as a launch partner, Toyota gets to create environmentally friendly brand awareness and align with green initiatives. Also benefiting from the positive news halo of WUSA9, Toyota’s sponsorship of ECO9 – which includes on-air, on-site community environmental events, OTT, and digital elements throughout the year – is broadcast to a very large audience that is hungry for environmental stories.  

“We received information from our marketing department that our viewers really wanted to see more environmental stories on clean energy and how to lower their carbon footprint,” says Young. “And so when putting this sponsorship opportunity together, we wanted to partner with someone who has a green initiative while extending their brand – and Toyota was the perfect fit.”  

Promotions for ECO9 began a week before its launch in July, and included many on-air elements, including a countdown clock.  

“You could not go anywhere in this city or visit any news site and not see news of ECO9 launching,” says Young.  

But this sponsorship with Toyota extends even further than launch week.  

“Utilizing the theme of #EnvironmentMatters, we’re able to extend Toyota’s brand further with other assets, which include placements in our mobile app, website, and a presence at upcoming events like our Recycle Days, Waterway and Park Cleanup days, and the upcoming Environment Matters Awards event in November,” explains Young.   

“Part of our DNA is positively impacting a community, and if you have like-minded clients, both of you can make the community a better place,” says Michael Valentine, VP & Station Manager at WUSA9.  

 “For a sponsor like Toyota, it’s more than slapping a logo on a car. The ECO9 is a vehicle for us to actually talk about making this a better community, a better place to live for you and your children,” says Valentine. “It’s an opportunity to actually be part of something substantive that we all can be proud of.” 

While the ECO9 isn’t a complete solution to climate change or the environmental threats impacting our communities, it’s a step in the right direction. Team TEGNA and WUSA9 are doing a small part to help the environment, along with our marketing and advertising partners.  

Sound Good?  

At TEGNA, our mission is to serve the greater good of our local communities. We drive innovation to surface good data and share stories others don’t see.  We deliver creative solutions to help brands and  businesses thrive.  We appreciate the value of partnerships, achieving results together, and working in your best interest.  If this sounds good, tell us a little more about you, and let’s put the power of good to work.   

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