OX low-cost flat-pack truck for developing countriesEnlarge Photo
The dispersal of automobiles is quite an uneven one.
For every three or four-car household in the developed world, there are huge swathes of land in developing countries without access to any sort of motorized transport however badly they may need it.
One British entrepreneur hopes to change that, says Autocar. His simple diesel truck, called the OX, can be shipped flat-pack to the areas that need them.
Brainchild of Sir Torquil Norman, the rugged OX isn't pretty, but there's still beauty in its brutal fitness for purpose.
Its unusual shipping requirements mean a unibody structure is impossible. Instead, it uses a simple steel twin-rail chassis with flat body panels and independent suspension. In order to make transporting the kit as easy as possible, all dissassembled components can fit inside the chassis.
The rest of the vehicle is equally versatile.
A central driving position with a passenger either side removes the expense and complexity of engineering it for left or right-hand drive. The load area can accommodate ten further people, or eight large fuel drums, or two metric tons of payload.
Despite these capabilities, it's under 14 feet long--around a foot shorter than a Chevy Volt.
It uses a 2.2-liter diesel Ford engine with a five-speed manual gearbox, and offers chunky tires and high ground clearance to help navigate the unpaved roads the OX will almost certainly encounter. It's designed to be cheap to fix too, when required--the flat panels, identical left and right doors, and flat windscreen panes all help.
As the car uses modular construction, four-wheel drive and various chassis lengths could also be produced.
Best of all, Sir Norman's OX is intended to be sold on a non-profit basis, hopefully minimizing the cost for the communities, organizations and charities which will need it the most.
He told Autocar, "Our aim is to give people in the developing world an affordable means of doing for themselves what they rely on outsiders for--fetching water, distributing seed and fertiliser, carrying people and produce to market and providing access to medical help."