I'd love for them to put up a full 12 hour video on YouTube showing the whole process, with no fancy editing or disturbing music. Just three engineers working away in a big, empty hall, turning a package into an OX. I imagine it would be mesmerizing to watch.
Murray "... even claimed that the process is so simplified that Walmart or Apple could use it to start manufacturing cars."
And the concept is taken much further too, the idea of iStream was to replace hard-to-manufacture precision moulded and welded panels used in consturcting the chassis with much simpler tubular construction (while using modern designs to get the rigidity and durability). The entire OX chassis is built with flat panels (from "engineered plywood", I think that's a wood + aluminium composite) and straight tubes, making it really simple to manufacture and assemble but rigid and strong.
This is also where the race car designer background comes into play. Back when he got started, it was all tubular frame construction for the lower end and riveted aluminium monocoques for the top end. Of course his best known works are from the early carbon fiber composite era (mid 1980s) but his background in chassis rigidity must really help.
But for more you'll just have to do some searching.
Anybody know about the emissions and if you can drive it in the US (non-California)?
I also wonder if the parts are easy and standard enough to make in more widely distributed factories. Seems the revolution waiting to happen is when a small country can make at least some of the parts in a small factory and trade with other similar partners to commodify the ecosystem, like PCs in the 1990s etc.
I'm going to take a guess that this wouldn't meet US safety standards, it's design intent really seems for serving the developing world.
Crashworthyness, though... There's not much crush depth in that thing. The driver is up front. Did they install ABS?
for those who are interested the renault 4 also called 4l is used for an international race run by student every year since 20 years.
Also, the price will fall, these trucks will be sold second, third, tenth hand... Same as with "expensive" mobile phones in years past.
You will find that Toyota comfortably holds this niche in most developing countries. Toyotas are reliable, and there's a glut of cheap Toyota spares due to network effects. The only advantage the Ox has over a Toyota Hilux is that it can carry about 800kg more (about double). On all other points, the Hilux is ahead or on par.
Although the new Hilux cars seem to be quite popular in Africa and Middle East too. Perhaps it's the brand, or perhaps there are some similarities (or even interchangeable parts) that make it desirable.
The article does mention taxes and customs as one motivator for this design.
Looking on the roads around me the VW T3 is really popular around here for people who want to get things done, you can find decent enough examples at around 800-1000 euros (I know because I also looked at purchasing one). The repairs are easy to do, lots of spare parts available, and if you think diesel is too expensive you can always install a LPG system on it and now it becomes even cheaper to run it. Unfortunately the next T4 model is a little too big.
For a similar example that comes from Eastern Europe also look at UAZ-452 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UAZ-452), that's a very durable and reasonably cheap car that can handle almost anything.
What makes you confident to say this about a vehicle that was just released in it's first iteration and has yet to stand the test of time?
Is it a Common Rail, computer-controlled diesel?
I'm in West Africa now, and the diesel quality down here means you really want an all-mechanical injection pump, not a CRD.
Cool idea, but he's got to remember that virtually no body down here (save the UN and big NGOs) buys new vehicles. They're all clapped-out things shipped in from Europe - even the land cruisers have 400,000+ kms on them when they get here.
More over, the vehicles would not fall in value, much or at all. Assuming, again, the claims of the makers are true.
There is money to spend in such countries, via the diasporas, agencies, local wealthier people. The difficulty is always to avoid being ripped off.
And the purchase price is going to fall a lot when the Chinese clones hit the market, which they will.
Source: too many hours in my childhood out in the mud or snow helping my father work on the Detroit diesels in his skidders.
It does mention that it's an off-the-shelf Ford Transit diesel engine and transmission. I'm sure you can find the answers to the rest of your questions based on that.
There are quite a few.
Those engines are great in the first world, not so much in the 3rd.
This is just a very modern car/truck. I love it.
Sounds like a Kickstarter is in order.
Even here in northern Europe, a mid-1980s Hilux might sell for 5000 eur in a barely runnable condition. There are two reasons, first: these things are easy to repair but spare parts are an issue. Second: it can be in quite shitty condition and can still be sold to Africa for a decent amount of money.
Then there's the indestructible reputation that surely brings up the price.
This is more in the "Open Source Ecology" style of design, which I love.
- "sand ladders"
- "a blockable front brake"
- "a six-speed power take off"
Also, why is there no video? Doesn't Top Gear have anyone on staff who can edit video? Or am I just missing the link?
I'm assuming there's more to the name...unlike normal trucks that can only go up to 10, this one can go all the way to 0xB ;)
Going that route also lets you do manufacturing closer to the intended market, vs. requiring supply chain, power, and other infrastructure that could be in short supply in the developing world.
There's a lot of reasons that might be in favor of good old manual labor instead of high tech robotics.
There is mass unemployment all over Europe at the moment. including UK. Untrained labor might not be as expensive as you think, especially compared to the guys who can design, install and operate automotive manufacturing robots.
It does make sense to use robots and CNC for machining and parts manufacture (where you'd need skilled labor) but the assembly line work is pretty straightforward. Especially in vehicles such as this.
Another aspect is volume. This doesn't seem to be a high volume vehicle, at least initially. It would cost a lot to set up an automated factory for this kind of product.
Finally, this car was designed to be shipped unassembled and be put together by the customer or a distributor, which might not be in the UK.
Still, the DIY-er in me loves the idea, hope they do well and get even cheaper.
I've got much respect for Gordon Murray but did I miss something here? At something like 1/3 the price he might be on to something, but like this, its just another rattle-trap diesel truck only suitable for 3rd world use. They've got lots of those already. Plus at a cost that high to start with, I'm not sure "you can save a few bucks in shipping if you put it together like an IKEA couch" is actually a feature.
> And because the OX is much cheaper, a buyer could have a bigger fleet. “There is just no competition, anywhere,” says Murray. “OXen would have a five times ratio of carrying capacity to cost versus Hiluxes.”
How about a jeepney then? Perhaps the Ox has an advantage for extremely rugged terrain, but it's hardly cheap. In the Philippines for example, a brand new 20 passenger jeepney costs GBP 8k:
"For the record, a fully-appointed 20-passenger jeepney--with an "Isuzu 4BC1 engine, 75-percent stainless-steel body, stereo system, stickers, halogen lights, side aluminum jalousies"--is priced at P510,000 if you buy it in cash" 
That was in 2011, but prices remain similar.
That aside, Jeepneys are horrendous vehicles for anything other than their primary use: going from stop to stop on flat ground, while carrying human cargo with a high turnover rate.
The Jeepney weighs twice as much as the Ox and struggles with any incline (up or down–given the weight and their generally shoddy brakes, stopping quickly is out of the question), handles poorly with suspension that would have been unsophisticated a half a century ago, and becomes a hazard at any speed above gridlock.
The cargo capacity of the two appears to be significantly different, as the Jeepney's optimized around having two benches for people–the rear opening is positively small for cargo, removing the bench is a hassle (if it isn't welded in place to begin with), and the roof is fixed, giving no allowance for oddly-shaped cargo.
The two vehicles are hardly comparable.
Agreed, but that's sort of the point. It's a cheap local solution perfectly suited to local requirements. Similar solutions exist for transporting cargo both on land and sea. It's also produced domestically, which benefits both the price, maintainability, and local economy.
The reason for my comparison was to challenge the points in the article that seem to suggest that the developing world is crying out for a solution like this at this price point. It certainly looks like a decent product, but I can't see it being a game changer in any way.
Fully loaded it will be useless on muddy/sandy/steep tracks if it only has front wheel drive.
> “I had no idea how good the OX would be, until I’d driven it.” says Murray. “The ride is great. I had been quietly terrified something with 2WD wouldn’t work that well.”
> Murray says the inspiration for the dynamics came from the Renault 4, once a much-loved off-roader in Africa and Southern Europe.
The Renault 4 was 2wd right?
(Am I the only one reading the article?!? ;) )
You need two Hilux to carry as much payload as one Ox.
For carrying capacity it's nowhere near a tractor + a trailer combo. And also tractor can drive anywhere, even places that 4WD won't, not mentioning weird 2WD.
It seems to be a cool project not solving any particular problem.
There was a man in the jungle
Trying to make ends meet
Found himself one day with an axe in his hand
When a voice said "Buddy can you spare that tree
We gotta save the world - starting with your land"
It was a rock 'n' roll millionaire from the USA
Doing 3 to the gallon in a big white car
And he sang and he sang 'til he polluted the air
And he blew a lot of smoke from a Cuban cigar
So as long as we don't know what to replace internal combustion engines with, they're the safest bet, since they don't need fossil fuels.
I would say, if you are worried about trucks polluting the earth, we should stop ordering shit online and expecting that every supermarket everywhere has all the freshest produce from every corner of the world. I'm willing to bet that the ecological cost of my local supermarket having fresh cherries from Chile or watermelon from Argentina(I'm in UK) is an order of magnitude greater than all diesel trucks used by 3rd world African villages combined.
Don't get me wrong, I love that I can buy fresh produce any time of the year - but I just wanted to point out that denying the developing world basic transport technology to fight pollution, while we burn through monumental amounts of oil just to get stuff that improves our lives marginally, is not really fair.
On the [Ox website](http://oxgvt.com/) it mentions that the powertrain can be swapped out in future versions for electric or hydrogen powered altenatives.
I appreciate that doing things differently demands extraordinary cultural and economic shifts, new business models, faith... I don't see any of that as immature.
(Perhaps I'm immature :) )
But pushing a wheelbarrow sucks, too.
I'll rephrase my point to highlight what I think most relevant: if we constantly make concessions towards cost efficiency (because it's "pragmatic" and "mature") we will run out of time to deal with the major pollution problem before it kills us and most of our peers.
I don't think it's as clear cut as that. Farming and keeping animals consumes a lot of natural resources. Keep in mind that you'd need a lot of time and a lot of oxen or horses to haul two tons of material.
Oil is a form _and_ a source of energy. Electricity is a just a form of energy. Which alternative source do you propose?
> ...nuclear plants? Solar systems?
More seriously, it's very important to consider that centralization of electricity production, even from coal or oil, allows a lot more pollution control than a hundred million vehicles each carrying a mini-combustion engine on the roads. Cars get lighter, and the factory can get efficient re-burners, soot filters, emit pollution outside cities, and benefit from future tech like CO2 burial. Heck, the country can even decide to shut down coal plants, go nuclear, hydroelectric or 100% renewable. Which is impossible if it's a matter of replacing 50 million cars.
So, yes, an electric car in a country that produces 100% of its energy from coal is still much more ecologic than a combustion engine. The keyword is: centralization of energy production.
Elon Musk is no fool. He beat 9 competitors with a total of $461bn market cap, because he got that before we did.
At what? Internet points?
Tesla has still a negligible total market share, because even first-world countries don't yet have the necessary infrastructure for an all-electric car fleet.
How's that supposed to work in third-world countries, where you can count yourself lucky to have dirt roads? For a utility truck, where weight efficiency matters?
And what about longevity? Reliability? Reparability? Tesla's batteries aren't even designed to survive five years, and if they're punctured, impossible to repair. Gas tanks can be fixed with duct tape and swearing, and diesel engines in minimally equipped workshops with spare parts that are lightweight enough you can ship them on a bicycle.
Here in Buenos Aires, diesel is terribly polluting. In California, diesel is super clean. The difference is mostly that in California you have to fix your car if it starts emitting smoke, and the diesel fuel is centrifuged to remove sulfur. Diesel unavoidably emits a lot of soot until the engine warms up, but lots of diesel vehicles are equipped with soot filters which periodically burn the soot off.
I don't know that it's accurate to say that centralization allows pollution control. It can just as easily prevent pollution control — even though there are less sources of pollution, they're each controlled by a more politically powerful entity. In many countries, this means energy companies can get away with murder. Literally.
How do you figure that?
It's pretty hard to beat a modern ICE + gasoline for power-to-weight and energy density.
And a 1,200lb 85kWh Tesla battery has about the same energy as 22lb of gas.
I agree on this point, but don't forget the other critical points for energy: storage-ability and transportability.
If you think about a centralized transport network (ex: train), then a dam and some wire will do the job. But, if you consider small, independent vehicles (ex: cars), unfortunately for humanity, up to now oil is unbeatable.
I think that we don't need any more remainder that pollution sucks. We need more research to find alternatives that pollute less while providing the same comfort.
It doesn't have the Tesla mystique though, that's for sure.
The British Army is using them, so Murray has likely been inspired by it.
It was designed for Mountains in Austria, is pretty much unbeatable in tough terrain - just put on chains and gogogo.
Original had petrol engines, not diesel to avoid freezing up in winter conditions.
As a driver in the Austrian Army we basically learned the whole thing front to back, assemble and disassemble like a rifle.
Such a fun ride.
If the UN buys this vehicle it's basically just rich states subsidizing a company in a rich state. The local economy loses out. This is how most aid projects worked in the last decades and it obviously hasn't really helped.
The intentions are good, but this won't help developing countries more than just importing old used European/American cars.