Text: Eric Tipan / Photos: Global Vehicle Trust | posted September 13, 2016 09:22
Flat-pack vehicle designed for all-terrain mobility
If you’re looking at getting into the off-road scene but find the pricing on high-end four-wheel drive systems way above your budget, a newly introduced vehicle by the Global Vehicle Trust just might be the model for you.
Making its world premiere is the OX from entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Torquil Norman whose goal of helping ‘people in the developing world by providing cost-effective mobility’ was the reason he founded Global Vehicle Trust.
The OX was designed by renowned automotive engineer Professor Gordon Murray with the goal of creating a ‘revolutionary lightweight truck’ with a high ground clearance, excellent approach and departure angles, large wheel movement, a multi-purpose layout and a three-person cab.
It comes with a light sub-assembly that functions as a chassis while the external shell is made of an all-flat waterproof bonded wood composite. Glass panels are flat making it easy to store and cheap to make.
Murray’s design included a flat-pack format that radically reduces the overall unit cost of the truck and the shipping expenses it will incur. Three people can build the flat-pack within 5.4 hours and fit six flat-pack OXs into a 40-feet high-cube container. Upon arrival at the destination, three skilled people can put the OX together in 12 hours.
Fully assembled, the OX measures 4,229 mm long, 2,070 wide, 2,302 and high.
As developing countries vary between left- and right-hand drive, the OX was designed to have the driver positioned in the middle of a spacious three-passenger cabin.
The layout of the OX lends to hauling and transporting, which is why it was manufactured to carry as much as carry a payload of 1,900 kilos or 4,189 pounds, which is the equivanlent of 13 people or 44-gallon drums.
In order to cope with the rough terrain in developing countries like Africa, the OX was designed with all-terrain capability despite only having a two-wheel drive layout. Opting not to use a four-wheel drive system makes the OX lighter to reduce tire wear and fuel consumption. It has a 1-meter wading capability and has the ability to easily cross flooded terrain.
To improve grip, the OX uses fully independent OXGlide™ suspension on all four wheels allowing it to be more stable over rough ground than traditional off-road vehicles.
The OX is powered by a 2.2-litre Ford diesel engine with 100 PS and 310 Nm of torque, and it designed to easity adapt to a pure electrical or hydrogen powertrain. It comes with a 5-speed automatic transmission.
“The OX design and prototyping programme is undoubtedly one of the most interesting and challenging I have undertaken during my 45 years of car design, including my years in F1. The added challenge of a flat-packed vehicle design over the already tough targets forcost, durability and weight saving made for a fascinating and stimulating journey from concept to prototype. The most satisfying elements of the project for me are that the OX will make such a difference to so many people and that it has no competitor in any part of the world. It has been a privilege to work alongside Torquil to make his vision a reality,” said Murray.
“My inspiration for the OX goes back to seeing the ‘Africar’ project of the 1980s. This project shares some of the aims of that vehicle, but its execution is radically different. OX was just a dream six years ago, but it is now a realistic prospect for production with working prototypes that have completed a comprehensive testing program,” said Norman.