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Meet the Ox, the world’s first flat-pack truck. It’s an all-terrain vehicle that’s been designed by an F1 ace to be low-cost and able to tackle the world’s toughest environments.
Unveiled today, the ‘ultimate MPV’ aims to reach the 80% of the world’s population who don’t benefit from motor vehicles.
“I had the idea while in the bath,” said the 82-year-old inventor, Sir Torquil Norman, speaking to Sun Motors. “This could be the stupidest thing I’ve ever done, or it could change the world.”
The Ox is a multi-purpose truck that can carry 13 people, 1,900kg of cargo and even double up as an ambulance. The aim is noble, to change the lives of millions of people in developing countries.
To save on delivery costs, it arrives in a flat-pack. It takes three people under 12 hours to assemble it with a toolkit of just 40 spanners. If you can handle an IKEA chest of drawers, you should be able to build a truck.
While it looks like a Tonka toy, the simplistic design in ingenious, the work of ex-F1 design guru Prof Gordon Murray. “If people say it’s ‘crude’ I take that as a compliment. It had to be low cost and rugged. Just making it flat pack took nine months.
“It’s like a kid’s Transformers toy.. It’s the vehicle I’m most proud of. And my career is littered with revolutionary stuff.”
The Ox is packed with great design features. Like the centralized steering wheel, so it works in countries that drive on the left and right.
Or the plywood panels that can be assembled with just one Allen key. Drivers can add engine fluids from the cabin.
The tailgate comes off to form a ramp for heavy cargo. And the rear seats double up as sand ladders in case your vehicle gets stuck.
“It’s the lowest cost off-road vehicle in the world,” said Murray.
It has influential backers, like car-mad Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason: “This is great. It’s the closest thing to the Ford Model T - it could change society.”
By providing low-cost mobility, the Ox aims to tackle poverty and ill health in the developing world. It’s able to carry twice the load of similar vehicles, and it’s the length of a Skoda Yeti.
It can drive through 75 cm depth of water and has a very wide track to ensure excellent stability on badly rutted roads. It could be air dropped into a disaster zone and assembled on site. “The world cannot afford to make a mess of this,” said Barry Coleman from Riders for Health.
To date the Global Vehicle Trust has invested £3.4m ($4.5m) to design and build three prototypes. Next, they want investment from a large car manufacturer to realize their dream of spreading the Ox throughout the world.
So what next for the octogenarian visionary inventor, Sir Norman. What can follow creating the Ox? “Ha,” he joked. I’ll be pushing up daisies next.”