While one in ten humans live in Africa, a vehicle specifically designed to meet the demands of the continent’s unique terrain has never been created. Until now.
The ‘OX’ is a ready-to-build all-terrain truck, designed for remote villages, for use across parts of the world without a culture of automation. The OX has been designed here in Britain, by The Global Vehicle Trust, and is the first of its kind. The Camden-based organisation, who exist to improve the lives of those in the developing world, put any profits generated by sales of the OX into further development of its charitable endeavours.
As you might expect from the world’s first flat-pack vehicle, and the name, the OX is robust and simple. Panels are largely interchangeable and components have been stripped back to their fewest number.
It takes just three people around five and half hours to create the flatpack version of the OX here in the UK. It takes another three people around 11 and a half hours to get the vehicle on the road once it lands in its destination. The OX has been designed so that those without engineering skills are able to build it without the need for specialist equipment.
Perhaps even more cleverly, the OX can been flat-packed itself, doing away with the need for expensive containers, and half a dozen of the vehicles can fit inside a standard container.
The OX can drive through water the best part of metre deep. It can carry two tonnes, seat 13 people, over 360 pints of liquid and has a power unit that can pump water, saw wood or run a generator!
High clearance and short overhangs mean the OX can tackle steep inclines. There’s independent front and rear suspension, and an uncluttered underside to avoid snagging on sand, mud etc
The front-wheel drive OX weighs in at a miserly 1.5 tonnes and houses a manual transmission 2.2 litre diesel engine. Without any weight, the front axle takes three quarters of the vehicles burden. When full it’s laden, there’s a near perfect 50-50 split front to back, offering perfect traction.
Project leader Sir Torquil Norman explained:
“My inspiration for the OX goes back to the ‘Africar’ project of the 1980s. OX became a dream three years ago and is now a realistic ambition with a working prototype that has already completed its initial testing programme. Our sole objective at GVT is to help people in the developing world. As part of an aid programme, the OX could provide an essential element of infrastructure to enable the local population to raise the community’s standard of living and to assert its independence by gaining control of its transportation needs and costs. The OX could also be an enormous help in transporting medicines, doctors, patients and other materials in emergencies and at times of natural disaster.”
The OX prototype cost £1million. The organisation are looking for £3 million more to get the vehicle production ready.That money might come from the UK. While the OX has been built for developing countries, the OX is creating real interest amongst farmers and estate owners a little closer to home.