Taking low cost OX to India
Mission to bring low-cost all-terrain mobility to rural communities in developing countries
FOLLOWING several requests from readers for updates on the low-cost little truck that Durban-schooled Gordon Murray designed for Africa, we can report it’s heading to India first.
The OX to India mission is a partnership between Shell and Gordon Murray Design (GMD), working in close alignment with the Global Vehicle Trust (GVT) that commissioned Murray to build a vehicle that would last in Africa.
This represents a crucial development stage of the vehicle, which was officially launched in 2016. Shell will fund a bespoke prototype OX to take to India and will set up an outreach programme once the vehicle is in India. The vehicle will be re-engineered and built by GMD, and flat-packed for shipment to India in the later part of 2018.
The OX, based on GMD’s flexible iStream technology, will run exclusively on Shell fluids including Shell Rimula — a hardworking and high-performing diesel engine oil designed to help heavy duty and light duty engines to run efficiently in demanding conditions.
Huibert Vigeveno, executive vice president, Shell Global Commercial, said the OX to India demonstration will see the concept validated in a real world setting. “We know limited mobility in hard-to-reach communities in developing economies can restrict access to basic services, and can limit the effectiveness of efforts to improve the quality of life. The OX has the potential to broaden access to transport possibilities and all the resulting benefits that come with this,” said Vigeveno.
Made to work
The OX is designed to carry a payload of 1 900 kg (about twice the capacity of most current pick-ups), which could include everyday necessities, medical supplies, building and agriculture materials.
It can seat up to 13 people. The vehicle was envisioned by entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Torquil Norman and designed by renowned automotive engineer Professor Gordon Murray.
Other innovative features of the OX include: • lightweight, rugged and durable design to maximise payload for goods and people; • low cost, simple maintenance through accessible components and fewer parts; • designed for self-assembly, supplied fully assembled or flatpacked for easy shipping and local assembly.
Sir Torquil, founder of GVT, said: “I’m so pleased to welcome Shell aboard the OX project and for sharing GVT’s vision that this remarkable and versatile vehicle will provide a transformation in affordable mobility for so many people where the need is most acute.
“With Shell taking the OX to India we can demonstrate its capability in a key market, which will help attract long-term production partners.”
Professor Murray said: “... the OX is one of our most important engineering designs and it is certainly the vehicle of which I am most proud of, as its disruptive design has the potential to change the current mobility model and with Shell’s vision this vehicle could go on to improve so many people’s lives.”
Recognising the need for sustainable, cleaner and more energy efficient transportation solutions, Shell is collaborating and co-engineering a number of projects.
In 2016, Shell partnered with Murray to co-engineer the Shell Concept Car — an ultra-efficient city vehicle that, compared to a typical city car, uses 34% less primary energy over its entire lifetime.
Shell is also partnering with AirFlow Truck Company to develop a new hyper-fuel mileage Class 8 truck known as the Starship.
The OX provides everything the driver in deep rural Africa requires, from solid plates to protect the sump up front to to small cheap tyres below, a roof rack on top and space for a dozen people at the back, plus several of these trucks can be...