Vehicle designed for developing nations with rough terrain

Flat-pack deliveries are most often associated with having furniture assembled, but now there’s an automotive application of the technique. Global Vehicle Trust, founded in 2011, aims to bring affordable mobility to parts of the developing world. The most unconventional thing about the group’s new vehicle, though, is that the truck that can be flat-packed inside itself.

The Global Vehicle Trust Ox can be partially disassembled for easy shipping, making it cheaper and simpler to move to foreign countries. GVT says that three people can "flat-pack" the Ox in just six hours, and once in that reduced state, the Ox is compact enough that six can be transported in one, 40-foot shipping container. At the other end, three workers can fully rebuild the truck in just 12 hours.

The supremely simple truck is designed to be able to provide lots of utility in demanding terrain. It has a payload capacity of 4,188 pounds (1,900 kilograms) and 247 cubic feet (seven cubic meters) of cargo space, despite weighing just 3,527 lb (1,600 kg) dry and measuring only 169.3 inches (4,299 mm) in length. It has been designed with aggressive approach and departure angles, and nearly 10 inches of ground clearance, out of recognition that many developing countries have poor or non-existent roads. It can also ford 51.2 inches (1,300 mm) of water.

GVT envisions the Ox serving in rural Africa or other nations where it could be used to deliver water, food, fertilizer, or other supplies. The cargo area can, depending on configuration, accommodate 13 passengers, eight 44-gallon drums, or three pallets.

Other neat design tricks include a center-mounted driving position, so the Ox can be used in both left- and right-hand-drive countries; a modular tailgate that can be removed and used as a loading ramp; and the bench seat frames that can be removed to use as sand ladders in case the vehicle gets stuck. Power comes from a 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine, with a five-speed manual transmission routing power to the front wheels.

The GVT enlisted famed automotive designer Gordon Murray – of McLaren and Gordon Murray Design fame – to design the vehicle. In a statement, he applauded the project’s goals and scope.

"The OX design and prototyping program is undoubtedly one of the most interesting and challenging I have undertaken during my 45 years of car design, including my years in F1,” he said. “The added challenge of a flat-packed vehicle design over the already tough targets for cost, durability, and weight-saving made for a fascinating and stimulating journey from concept to prototype.”

Source: Global Vehicle Trust

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