This British startup picks £1.2M to develop world’s first clean transport ecosystem in emerging markets

OX Image credits: OX

OX, an automotive company from Warwick, UK, has recently received three grants totalling £1.2 million in the past four months. 

Notably, 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. 

With the funding, the company plans to develop its electric vehicle technology and deliver the world’s first clean transport ecosystem in emerging markets. 

OX Founders
Image credits: OX

How OX was born?

Across developing countries like Africa, there is an intense need for improved transport both for everyday living as well as emergencies. 

The co-founders — Gordon Murray, and Torquil Norman, realised 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. And thus the OX project was born. 

Sustainable and affordable transportation

Utilising a mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) model, OX’s aims to deliver sustainable, affordable transport in emerging markets, which will lead to significant opportunities to empower businesses and individuals. 

The UK company is building a clean transport ecosystem through the development of the OX truck, the creation of a digital platform for transactions to take place, and the recruitment of local drivers who will operate the entire service in their area.

The OX truck was originally designed by Formula One innovator Professor Gordon Murray CBE. As well as being zero-emission, the truck is 30% cheaper to run per tonne than the diesel trucks currently available in the market over a 20-year lifetime. 

According to the company, OX Truck is a highly unconventional ‘flat-pack’ all-terrain light truck, which will benefit people living in remote villages and townships across Africa and other parts of the developing world.

OX Truck
Image credits: OX

Working on different projects

Reiterating, OX secured funding from Innovate UK in January 2021 to develop the OX truck cabin to meet UK legislation. For this, OX will be partnering with Penso’s specialist engineering team which will lead the design and market certification of the truck. 

The announcement of the latest project follows the award of two grants in October 2020, which involve OX working alongside battery design company Potenza Technology to develop the electric OX truck. 

The first project, supported by Innovate UK funding, will enable a feasibility study into an electric powertrain for the OX truck, optimising the vehicle’s zero-emission technology. 

Parallelly, OX has also secured funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre, as part of their Advanced Route to Market Demonstrator programme, to build an electric prototype of the OX truck that will be able to operate in developing markets. 

The vehicle will be showcased at CENEX’s Low Carbon Vehicle event in September, the UK’s foremost low carbon vehicle event which will be attended by key stakeholders from industry and Government. 

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.”