Destined to become the Ikea of truck building, Sir Torquil Norman's OX truck can be flat-packed, six packed into a container and built in under 12 hours by three people. The parts are interchangeable from one side to another and no special tools are required.
Norman is the driving force behind the Global Vehicle Trust and the new OX truck. He's the founder of the Norman Trust, which has raised more than $46 million to UK projects. "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 program," said Norman. "Our sole objective at GVT is to help people in the developing world. As part of an aid program, the OX could provide an essential element of infrastructure to enable the local population 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."
Designed and built in Britain, the OX uses the fewest possible components are used to give it a fast build-up time. It takes three people approximately 5.4 hours to create the flat pack in the UK for shipping. It then takes three people 11.5 hours to assemble the vehicle from the flat pack at its destination with no special skills or equipment required.
With the OX being flat-packed it means there is no requirement for individual pallets for transportation, ensuring freight costs are kept to a minimum. Six OX vehicles, including engines and transmissions, fit into a standard 40ft container. In addition, assembly is transferred to the importing country, where local companies will assemble and maintain the finished vehicles.
OX can drive through 30" of water and has a wide track to ensure stability on rutted roads. Maximum payload is 4400 lb (twice the capacity of most pick-ups) and can easily seat up to 13 people or carry eight 44 gallon-drums or three pallets. It has a power supply capable of pumping water, sawing wood or running a generator.
Designed for rough terrain, the OX has high ground clearance and short front and rear overhangs to tackle the steepest inclines. Independent suspension allows easy transit over rough ground.
With an overall length similar to a family car, the OX weighs just 3300 lb and is front-wheel drive, powered by a 2.2-liter diesel engine with a manual transmission. Unladen, 73% of the weight is over the front axle, and when fully loaded 53% is still over that axle, contributing to improved traction.
"We have spent around $1.5 million bringing the OX to the working prototype but need a further $4.6 million to take the project to production-ready status," said Sir Torquil. "This is why we are now going public to highlight the need for investment and support in order to progress the project to completion. Our priority is to raise the funding to complete the testing and take the project to fruition. Our aim is that the OX will be purchased by charities, aid organizations and development programs, rather than private individuals. My dream is to one day see an OX in every village in Africa," concluded Sir Torquil.
Although initially planned and designed for developing countries, there could also be demand for assembled vehicles in some European markets, where it is anticipated OX will appeal to farmers, estate owners, etc thanks to its carrying capacity and rough terrain ability. Any profits generated by selling vehicles in Europe will go back into the Global Vehicle Trust charity to fund future OX developments.