top of page


British Start-Up OX Looks to Clean Up the Cold Chain with Office for Zero Emission Vehicle Funding

Thursday, 17 June 2021

The latest financial backing will support its mission to deliver a green mobility-as-a-service platform for the world’s fastest-growing markets

Fast-paced social impact start-up, OX, has proven successful again, with two further grants awarded by Innovate UK as part of their Transitioning Towards Zero Emission Vehicles competition, funded by the Office of Zero Emissions. The total project value of the latest grants is £1.1 million and will support OX’s vision to provide clean, affordable transport in emerging markets.

The first grant will see OX develop the “Chilled OX” with their partner Sunswap, a UK-based solar refrigeration start-up. The high power demand for cooling currently prevents refrigerated vehicles from switching to electric power. The Chilled OX is a ground-breaking innovation enabling the global uptake of zero-emission refrigerated vehicles. The project will develop a demountable, solar-powered refrigeration unit for the electric OX truck.

In the UK, this innovation will enable refrigerated transport to adopt electric vehicles and support the supply chain transition to net zero in the food sector. There are an estimated 160,000 small commercial refrigerated vehicles in the UK today which are diesel trucks powered with alternator-driven electrical refrigeration units. Switching these vehicles to electric has the potential to save 2.2 megatonnes of CO2 tailpipe emissions savings per year!

Additionally, OX’s first market, Rwanda, wastes 40% of food produced [World Bank 2020] with the lack of cold chain being a major cause, and it also represents a considerable challenge in COVID vaccine rollouts. The Chilled OX with a demountable refrigerated unit will enable the creation of a full cold chain, even in off-grid areas, avoiding significant investment in cold stores and operation.

The second Transitioning Towards Zero Emission Vehicles grant awarded will see OX work with their partner Penso Consultancy to develop and demonstrate a UK road-legal variant of the electric OX truck. This will enable the increase in adoption of small commercial zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in the UK agriculture and land-use sectors. 

Building upon a feasibility study, in which OX found an additional market opportunity in the UK, this project would provide a UK road-legal vehicle for testing and customer demonstration.

Simon Davis, OX’s Managing Director, said:

“The progress OX has made in the last year is truly astonishing and these latest successes now provide us with a fantastic opportunity to explore important global market opportunities through demonstrating innovative technology.

The electric vehicle sector is changing rapidly and represents a huge opportunity to rethink how transport is delivered across the world. This UK government support is enabling OX to take a leading role in this global industry.

Earlier this year I saw firsthand the challenges arising from a lack of cold chain in Rwanda. By enabling a zero-emission, affordable cold chain, this innovation has the potential to transform the productivity of the Rwandan agricultural segment boosting livelihoods. We are really looking forward to working with the Sunswap team to achieve this.

We started pilot operations in Rwanda in March and have had a really positive response and strong from our customers. Our mobility-as-a-service platform is enabling us to provide affordable reliable transport in rural areas. Once we finish our current fundraising round we will be expanding our pilot further.”

This latest news comes as the OX pilot operation in Rwanda has been running for 3 months and proving out the business model assumptions and also in addition to OX being successful in winning three previous grants from Innovate UK and the Advanced Propulsion Centre. The first electric OX demonstrator 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.

Editor’s notes

  • Three billion people globally 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 clean, affordable transport in emerging markets, which will lead to significant opportunities to empower businesses and individuals. More information can be found on OX’s website here:

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) is a team working across government to support the transition to zero emission vehicles (ZEVs).

  • Sunswap      is a British cleantech start-up developing technology to decarbonise the      cold chain with zero-emission transport refrigeration. More information      can be found on their website here:

  • 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.


bottom of page