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World's first 'flat-pack' truck set to bring aid to developing world

Global Vehicle Trust OX

The world’s first ‘flat-pack’ truck – the Global Vehicle Trust OX – has been revealed in London, designed to provide low-cost all-terrain mobility for remote parts of Africa and the developing world.

Across Africa and other developing world, there is intense need for improved transport, for both everyday living as well as emergencies.

The OX has been designed specifically to tackle a host of transport challenges, and to undertake crucial daily tasks, such as collect drinking water and transporting grain, fertilizer or building materials.

It originated from the vision of one man – Sir Torquil Norman. Five years ago, he founded the Global Vehicle Trust (GVT), to pursue his ambition to help people in the developing world by providing cost-effective mobility.

The GVT subsequently briefed renowned automotive designer Professor Gordon Murray on a unique humanitarian programme to create a revolutionary lightweight truck.

The brief for the vehicle called for high ground clearance, excellent approach and departure angles, large wheel movement, a multi-purpose layout and a three-person cab.

The flat-pack format fundamentally changes the way a vehicle can be bought and transported, providing specific advantages to lead times and overall unit cost.

The overall vehicle length is far shorter than a large SUV, and yet it can carry a payload of 1900kg (approximately twice the capacity of most current pick-ups) with a load volume of 7.0cu m. Based on EU size guidelines, it can seat up to 13 people or carry eight 44-gallon drums or three Euro-pallets.

Therefore, the OX not only addresses the problems with the roads; it also addresses the specific need to transport large volumes of goods and people at low cost.

Its cabin provides spacious accommodation for three people, and the driver is seated centrally.

This layout has specific advantages for the world’s developing countries, some of which have right-hand traffic, while others drive on the left of the road.

All-terrain ability is crucial for the developing world, and the OX has been engineered to perform as well as, or better than, a four-wheel drive vehicle across a range of surfaces, while offering durable mobility with two driven wheels.

The OX is capable of being flat-packed within itself, enabling it to be transported more efficiently around the world.

It takes three people less than six hours to create the flat pack in the UK prior to shipping, and six of these flat packs can be shipped within a 40ft high-cube container.

Assembly labour is transferred to the importing country, where local professional companies will be employed to assemble and maintain the finished vehicles. Three skilled people can put an OX together in approximately 12 hours.

Norman said: “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 programme.”

The global launch of the OX aims to highlight the need for investment and support in order to progress the project to completion. The Global Vehicle Trust believes that the OX project will attract a wide range of interest from potential backers.

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