Tak­ing low cost OX to India

Mis­sion to bring low-cost all-ter­rain mo­bil­ity to ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

PHOTO: FILE

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...

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