Leading social impact start-up OX has successfully secured three grants with a total project value of £1.2 million in the past four months. The grants, awarded by Innovate UK and the Advanced Propulsion Centre, will see OX work on separate projects with Potenza Technology and Penso to expedite the delivery of the world’s first clean transport ecosystem.
There are currently three billion people globally who lack access to basic transport provision, which creates barriers to markets, healthcare and education. Utilising a mobility-as-a-service model akin to Uber, OX’s mission is to deliver sustainable, affordable transport in emerging markets, which will lead to significant opportunities to empower businesses and individuals. For instance, providing farmers in rural areas of emerging markets with an economical way to transport and sell their crops for higher prices in cities. OX is building this 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 is the only purpose-designed electric vehicle for emerging markets and 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 market over a 20-year lifetime.
The most recent grant, awarded by Innovate UK in January 2021, secured OX funding to develop the OX truck cabin to meet UK legislation. This will ensure the vehicle is able to operate within all global markets, as well as creating the opportunity to offer the OX truck as the first off-road capable electric pickup truck in the UK. 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. Running in parallel, 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.
The funding comes ahead of a busy year for OX. The team will be piloting on-the-ground operations in Rwanda in April 2021, working with local communities to further understand customer demand and needs.
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 are 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.”
- OX deliver affordable transport in emerging markets to create a self-reinforcing cycle of economic growth and social impact. More information can be found on OX’s website: https://www.oxdelivers.com/
- The OX project was created by the Norman Trust (registered charity 327288) which provided initial seed capital to develop the OX truck. The Norman Trust established The Global Vehicle Trust (registered company 08502974) to exploit OX’s intellectual property. GVT is a company limited by guarantee controlled by its directors (J.Stanger, C. Norman (also a trustee of Norman Trust) and P.Watkins). It operates on a not-for-profit basis.
- Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. It provides grants to fund business and research collaborations that accelerate innovation and drive business investment into research and development.
- The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) is a non-profit organisation that facilitates funding to UK-based research and development projects developing low-carbon emission powertrain technologies. The APC manages an investment fund, which is jointly supplied by the automotive industry – via the Automotive Council – and the UK government through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
- Potenza Technology is an electric vehicle engineering specialist with particular expertise in battery design. They are a subsidiary of FPT and part of the CNH Group, a large industrial group who manufacture tractors and other commercial vehicles under the Case, New Holland and Iveco brands. More information can be found on Potenza Technology’s website: http://www.ptech.co/
- Penso is an engineering and manufacturing specialist based in Coventry, providing complete turnkey services to customers in the automotive, aerospace and rail sectors. Its capabilities include composites, consulting, concept design and vehicle build, design and engineering, electronics, finite element analysis, interior systems development and supply and niche vehicle build. More information can be found on Penso’s website: https://www.penso.co.uk/
- Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle (LCV) event is the UK’s premier low carbon vehicle event which showcases low carbon and fuel cell technologies. LCV positions the UK as a leader in low carbon technology development and exploitation.