Transport is a key issue in many emerging countries. In some territories, the terrain is difficult to navigate. In others, transport systems are archaic and heavy users of fossil fuels. There is a real requirement for reliable, safe, clean, transport systems for both everyday use and for coping with emergency situations.
One company that believes there should be a better way for the citizens in the emerging world to get from a to b is Warwick-based OX.
It has created an electric cleantech multi-terrain vehicle, and now backed it up with mobility as a service system. This includes a digital platform for transactions to take place, as well as enabling the recruitment of local drivers to operate the service.
And others are backing its vision too as the company has received three grants that total £1.2 million in the past four months. The grants, awarded by Innovate UK and the Advanced Propulsion Centre, are for three different projects, and they will be partnering with Penso and Potenza Technology.
There are basically two parts to the OX offering. The vehicle itself and the ecosystem.
The company claims that the vehicle delivers high-carrying capacity, extreme durability, all-terrain capability. And at the same time it has minimal parts, low-cost manufacture and the ability to be shipped flat-pack. The latest incarnation of the OX is electric which has the benefits of zero tailpipe emissions, ultra-low energy costs, low maintenance costs and being easy to drive
The company has also created two-wheel drive systems that work in tricky terrains using a technology called OXGlide. The two-wheel-drive OX has apparently most of the attributes of a four-wheel-drive vehicle, but without the compromises or cost.
The eco-system works in a number of ways. The company has, for example, partnered with Endava to deliver pay-as-you-go ‘app’ that operates using a 2G feature phone – which are often the pre-dominant handsets in emerging countries. It enables users to schedule pickups and deliveries and give details of who or what is using the transport..
The co-founders — Gordon Murray, and Torquil Norman told UKTN that there has never been a vehicle specifically designed and manufactured in volume to meet the rigours of the continent.
The available vehicles are often designed for quite different purposes, are too heavy, too complicated, and unsuited to local conditions.
The money that the company has secured has been ploughed into a series of projects to establish how effective the OX truck and its ecosystem can be
Simon Davis, OX’s General Manager, said: “Innovate UK and the Advanced Propulsion Centre use a competitive and tough assessment process, so it is a fantastic vote of confidence in OX that we have been awarded a third grant. This project will enable us to accelerate the development of our unique zero-emission OX truck and open up new markets for us.
“I am delighted to be collaborating with Penso on this project, their expertise will be invaluable in ensuring our trucks are built to meet the requirements to operate anywhere in the world.
“We made significant progress last year towards creating the world’s first clean transport network – securing investment, winning grants, growing the team, and building partnerships. This year is set to be even busier, improving our digital platform and strengthening our electric vehicle technology further.
“We start pilot operations in Rwanda in April, which will be a huge step forward. The team is incredibly excited and the pilot will demonstrate the benefits of the mobility-as-a-service platform we are building. This will pave the way to scaling our genuinely affordable and clean transport in the markets that need it most.”