Shell Lubricants, part of Royal Dutch Shell and one of the six oil and gas global supermajors, which last week announced that it will commission a pre-production prototype of the world’s first flat-pack truck – the Gordon Murray-designed Ox – has confirmed that the ‘Ox to India’ mission will be in India in Q4 of calendar year 2018.
The ‘Ox to India’ mission will showcase the capabilities of the vehicle for bringing low-cost all-terrain mobility to rural communities in developing countries. The mission is a partnership between Shell and Gordon Murray Design (GMD), working in close alignment with the Global Vehicle Trust (GVT). This represents a crucial development stage of the vehicle, which was officially launched in 2016.
Shell will fund a bespoke prototype Ox and will set up an outreach programme once the vehicle is in India. The vehicle will be re-engineered and built by GMD, and flat-packed for shipment to India in the later part of 2018.
The OX, based on GMD’s flexible iStream technology, will run exclusively on Shell fluids including Shell Rimula, a high-performing diesel engine oil designed to help heavy duty and light duty engines to run efficiently in demanding conditions.
The Ox is designed to carry a payload of 1,900kg (approximately twice the capacity of most current pick-ups), which could include everyday necessities, medical supplies, building and agriculture materials. It can seat up to 13 people. The vehicle was envisioned by entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Torquil Norman and designed by renowned automotive engineer Professor Gordon Murray.
Other innovative features of the Ox include:
- Lightweight, rugged and durable design to maximise payload for goods and people
- Low cost, simple maintenance through accessible components and fewer parts
- Designed for self-assembly, supplied fully assembled or flat-packed for easy shipping and local assembly
In an exclusive interaction today with Autocar Professional, on the sidelines of the launch of the Helix RX8 engine oil, Mansi Tripathy (pictured above), country general manager, Shell Lubricants, India said: “We feel very strong about the potential of the technology, and we also feel very optimistic for markets like India, which has a very big rural base and where the Ox can provide a new mobility solution in a very sustainable manner. Currently, we are also in a phase of saying that it will see the best form of commercialisation in Q4, 2018. Right now it is a technology partnership (with GMD) story that can be blended into multiple ways. That’s the conversation we are having right now to define it broadly on what will be the best framework.”
This is not the first partnership between Shell and GMD. In 2016, the two companies unveiled a concept city car which, if it were ever to go into production, could deliver material reductions in energy use in the road transport sector. The three-seater car would use around half the energy required to build and run than a typical small family car and 69 percent less than that of a typical sports utility vehicle. A prototype demonstration saw the Shell Concept Car achieve a range of 100km on just 2.5 litres of petrol.
Praveen Nagpal (pictured above), chief technology officer, Shell India, said: “We are always ahead in terms of developing solutions for OEMs, one of the recent innovations that we have done is a concept lubricant with Gordon Murray Design. We have tested a concept lubricant – 0W-10 – which gives a 100km range in 2.5 litres of fuel. Importantly, we have to look at how the OEMs are progressing, what their hardware is and depending on their requirement we jointly develop solutions for them.”