What if IKEA made vans? They might look something like the Ox: the world’s first flat-pack vehicle.
The Ox can be assembled by three people in less than 12 hours – with no expertise required. It can carry almost 2 tonnes of passengers or cargo, twice what most pick-up trucks can. And when it goes into mass production, it should cost between £10,000 and £15,000.
You can watch a BBC video of the Ox being assembled and test-driven here. It’s really quite amazing.
Its inventor is Professor Gordon Murray, the genius designer behind the Brabham Formula One cars that took Nelson Piquet to two world championships in the early eighties, as well as the iconic McLaren F1 supercar.
Murray and Sir Torquil Norman, the entrepreneur who commissioned the project, hope that the Ox will transform the lives of people in remote parts of the developing world. Its flat-pack nature obviously makes it easier to deliver, and it’s been specifically designed to be driven where roads are in poor condition – or non-existent. It can even drive more than 600 miles without filling up.
In an age where cars are becoming ever more complicated – from regenerative braking to autonomous steering – the Ox is also a refreshing achievement in simplicity. It’s the Raspberry Pi of the automobile world, in contrast to the iPad-cars of Tesla or Google.
And we need entry points such as this for the innovators of tomorrow to get their start. Just as Steve Wozniak went from tapping into the telephone network to inventing the Apple computer, perhaps it’ll be people who put together an Ox in their garage who go on to develop Britain’s flying car industry.