A 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 Coventry-based Advanced Propulsion Centre, will see OX work on separate projects with Coventry-based companies 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. Using a mobility-as-a-service model akin to Uber, OX wants 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 per cent 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 last 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.”
The OX project was created by the Norman Trust which provided initial seed capital to develop the OX truck. The Norman Trust then established The Global Vehicle Trust to exploit OX’s intellectual property.