For decades, it hasn't been easy or cheap to bring vehicles to developing nations. It's difficult for companies to justify the cost of setting up vehicle manufacturing facilities in those areas, and shipping a vehicle costs a lot more than a few extra stamps. To solve the problem of getting developing nations the vehicles they need, Global Vehicle Trust brought in Gordon Murray, known for making the McLaren F1 supercar. Murray was a surprising choice, considering his background, but GVT's faith in him paid off when he created the OX. The vehicle combines simplicity, capability and a few ingenious features, all in a design that can be flat-packed.
Flat-packing makes all the difference in keeping shipping costs down for the OX. Six flat-packs, each with one OX, can fit in one 40-foot shipping container. Setup is a fairly simple process, as well, and it's estimated that a team of three can build an OX within 12 hours.
The OX has a large back area and enough power to handle almost 4,000 pounds. The front seat fits three people, and the vehicle can accommodate a total of 13 people. That front seat also has one of of those ingenious features in its centrally-located steering wheel and driver's area. Driver's seat placement varies depending on the nation. Instead of designing a vehicle with a steering wheel on the right or left side that can only be used in certain nations, Murray opted for the steering wheel in the center, so people can drive the OX anywhere. The OX has a 2.2-liter, four-cylinder diesel engine for superior fuel efficiency. While it doesn't have four wheel drive, the design of the OX gives it a similar handling ability to a four wheel drive vehicle.
Its ability to drive on a variety of rough terrains, along with its high weight capacity, makes the OX ideal for use in developing nations. People can use the OX to quickly travel from one area to another, or they can use it to transport goods, such as pallets or 44-gallon drums. For the most difficult soft grounds, the OX even has removable rear seat benches that double as sand ladders.
The OX has received plenty of positive feedback, especially from aid agencies in Africa that recognize how useful the vehicle could be. The next step for Global Vehicle Trust is raising enough funding to where they can adequately test the OX, and then produce a full line of the vehicle. Considering the response they have gotten, the Global Vehicle Trust expects the OX to attract considerable interest from investors. Sir Torquil Norman, who started Global Vehicle Trust in 2011, believes the OX can make a real difference in the world, and he hopes that one day, every village in Africa has an OX.