The needs of developing countries for transportation are much different from countries that invented the #firstworldproblem. Vehicles for the third world don’t need air conditioning, they don’t need leather seats, and they don’t need 21-speaker audio systems (with subwoofer). What they need is to be able to drive on unimproved roads, they need to be adaptable and they must be inexpensive to build, assemble and operate. What they need is to be like an ox. What they need to be is a Global Vehicle Trust OX.
The GVT OX is an idea dreamed up by “entrepreneur and philanthropist” Sir Torquil Norman, and designed by Gordon Murray. Murray, more famous for designing Formula 1 race cars and the legendary McLaren F1 supercar, also designed the T.27 electric car concept that will go into production by Yamaha as the Yamaha Motiv around 2019. That’s a solution for the first world.
The OX, to be produced by the Global Vehicle Trust, is a primitive—in the best sense of the world—truck designed to handle daily tasks that we don’t have to think about, such as collect drinking water and transport grain, fertilizer or building materials, at least not in the way the third world does it.
The requirements for the vehicle included “high ground clearance, excellent approach and departure angles, large wheel movement, a multi-purpose layout and a three-person cab.” Furthermore, it had to be easy to ship to remote locations.
Gordon Murray’s design for the OX places the driver in the middle of the three-across cab to accommodate use in countries that drive either on the left or right. It can carry a payload of more than two tons with a load volume of almost 250 cubic feet. By EU standard, the GVT OX can seat up to 13 people, carry eight 44-gallon drums, or three Euro-pallets.
Suspension of the GVT OX is simple, leading arm at the front and trailing arm at the rear. It uses 16-inch wheels with 205/80R16 tires. Keeping it simple, the two-wheel OX is designed to provide bad-road mobility equal to vehicles with four-wheel drive.
The GVT OX is powered by a 2.2-liter diesel engine producing 228 lb-ft of torque, using fuel more readily available in remote areas and a design that requires less maintenance than a gasoline engine.
With Gordon Murray behind the design, it’s not surprising that there are clever features. For example, an egg crate-like frame for mounting seats can be removed and used for driving over particularly difficult roadways. Another? The tailgate can be removed to serve as a loading ramp.
Also important is that the GVT OX can be shipped flat, six to a shipping container. Once at its destination, the GVT OX can be put together by locally-contracted assembly companies. Three trained workers can put an OX together in approximately 12 hours.
The design is ready to go, but the project lacks funding. According to Sir Torquil, “Feedback we have had so far from contacts in Africa and with aid agencies has been very positive. OX is about making a difference now, being part of something ground-breaking and unique. Most of all it presents a real opportunity to make a fundamental and lasting difference to people’s lives.”
If the Global Vehicle Trust can put together the money, that is. Said Sir Torquil, “My dream is to one day see an OX in every village in Africa.”