A Scottish firm has launched what it claims is the world’s most capable electric 4x4, designed and built in Britain.
The Munro Mk1 is a brand-new vehicle designed to offer zero-emissions transport in the toughest of environments and to bring large-scale vehicle production back to Scotland. The first vehicles are due to be built and delivered next year, with ambitions to produce 2,500 units per year by 2027.
Its creators say the Munro Mk1 is designed to work in the most rugged condition, yet promises to be simple to maintain, and engineered to offer “50 years of service”. Based on a galvanised steel ladder frame chassis, it offers 80mmm of ground clearance, and a wading depth of up to 800mm, plus approach and departure angles of 84 and 51 degrees. The load bed will fit a standard Euro pallet and a payload of up to 1,000kg, while the Mk1 can also tow up to 3,500kg.
Unlike most road-focused EVs, the Munro doesn’t use a skateboard-style platform with motors at the front or rear driving the wheels. Instead its lightweight “pancake” axial flux motor is mounted centrally and drives a traditional mechanical four-wheel-drive system.
"The engineering is unashamedly agricultural in nature," explains Russell Peterson, CEO of Munro Vehicles. "Some people see the term agricultural as potentially derogatory, but at Munro, we certainly don’t.
“Agricultural vehicles feature some of the most sophisticated technology you can imagine. But above all, they are engineered to do the job, no matter how much punishment they soak up, and to keep doing it year after year. The Munro has been built to the most robust standards possible and to be fully operational in 30, 40, 50 years’ time.”
The Munro is offered with a choice of two electric motors, 220kW (295bhp) and 280kW (375bhp), along with the option of two battery packs - 61kWh and 82kWh. These should provide a range of up 190 miles or around 16 hours of off-road operation. Rapid DC charging will allow a full charge in as little as 30 minutes.
The vehicle’s battery is guaranteed to deliver 80 per cent of its original capacity for at least eight years and 100,000 miles but, with an eye on the vehicle’s longevity, Munro plans to recondition or replace and recycle ageing batteries “when the time comes”.
Although the more powerful model will go from 0-60mph in 4.9 seconds, the firm insists the focus is on providing “utility, workability, and superior off-road drivability”, with peak torque of 516lb ft to give “excellent” off-road responsiveness.
Taking a function-over-form approach to design, the five-door Munro’s boxy utilitarian styling with quad headlamps and prominent grille, reflects its intended use in unwelcoming environments. Other body variants are due to follow from next year.
Inside, the 130-inch wheelbase provides space for five adults, including enough room, Munro says, for all five to use laptops if weather prevents them from working outside. A simple dashboard features fully waterproof switchgear that can be operated while wearing gloves and the whole interior is designed to be power washed from waist height down.
So far, the firm has received orders from as far afield as Switzerland, St Lucia, and Dubai and Munro says it has reached “several” pre-sale agreements with fleet operators in key industries, thought to include mining and forestry operations.
The Munro costs from £49,995 before VAT and production will begin next year at Munro’s current East Kilbride headquarters, with 50 due to be handbuilt in 2023. Munro says it will then expand to a purpose-built production facility in central Scotland in 2024 where it will ramp up production numbers.