4 minute read - 6th December 2022
Munro unveils its first British-built electric 4×4 vehicle
Munro Vehicles, a manufacturer of all-electric 4x4s, and Scotland’s only volume production car company, has unveiled its first vehicle, the Munro Mk_1. Designed, engineered, and built in Britain, the company says the Munro MK_1 is the world’s most capable all-electric 4×4, able to navigate the most challenging terrain and operating for up to 16 hours on a single battery charge.
The Munro combines a state-of-the-art 280kW electric powertrain to ensure zero tailpipe emissions, with a proven, robust, simple-to-maintain mechanical driveline that delivers uncompromised off-road ability. The Munro’s unique attributes make it an ideal choice for those seeking to minimise their environmental footprint in numerous sectors including construction, agriculture, mining, environmental, emergency rescue, remote infrastructure maintenance, and recreation without compromising on performance or capability.
The Munro MK_1 can transport a crew of five to the most rugged locations, accommodating a 1000kg payload and 3500kg towing capacity. The company adds that it represents the ultimate, sustainable, utilitarian, off-road workhorse and has focused on off-highway performance, reliability, ease-of-repair and longevity, to provide owners and operators with decades of service.
Priced from £49,995 (excluding VAT), Munro has already received deposits for several vehicles that it will hand-build next year. Orders have come from locations across the globe including the UK, Switzerland, St Lucia, and Dubai. Several pre-sale agreements have been reached with fleet operators in key industries.
The company was founded in 2019 by Russell Peterson and Ross Anderson. In 2024, Munro will expand from its current headquarters in East Kilbride to a new purpose-built factory in central Scotland, where production will scale to more than 250 units per year initially, leading to the creation of 300 new jobs. The new site will eventually produce 2,500 vehicles per annum. Munro is the first automotive manufacturer to build cars at scale in Scotland since Peugeot-Talbot closed its Linwood plant in 1981, which the Rootes Group established in 1963.
Munro CEO, Russell Peterson, explained the idea was born during an off-road camping trip in the Highlands: “We had already taken measures to reduce our own environmental footprints and had a lot of experience driving our own EV, and got quite used to the instant torque delivery. But the off-roader we were driving through the Highlands was combustion-engined, and it was really struggling on the steep climbs. So, we were musing how much better it would be with an electric motor.
“On the return journey, we stopped at a café in Braemar, where a bank of 50kW rapid chargers were sitting empty and unused. Parked up nearby was a large group of combustion-engined safari adventure 4x4s of a type that are no longer manufactured and will have to be replaced eventually.
“It dawned on us that there was a gap in the market for an electric-powered, four-wheel-drive, utilitarian workhorse. We envisioned a vehicle with ultimate, go-anywhere, off-road ability, unrestricted by road-derived underpinnings that limit the all-terrain ability of vehicles such as the 4×4 pick-up trucks that have come to dominate the market.”
Ross Anderson, Munro’s head of powertrain, added: “Axial flux electric motors are rarely used in the automotive mass-manufacture sector, where radial flux motors dominate. Axial flux motors are quite challenging to manufacture at scale and require a high degree of hand assembly, and they also come at a price premium. However, an axial flux electric motor provides the perfect solution for our application.
“A further benefit of the axial flux motor is that it generates exceptionally high amounts of torque when running in reverse. When the Munro is in high gear ‘drive’ mode, lifting off the accelerator provides a degree of regenerative braking via the resistance of the electric motor. In low-gear, ‘off-road’ setting, the regenerative braking is much more pronounced. This enables the vehicle to be driven in ‘one-pedal’ mode and provides a highly effective hill descent function to enhance safety and performance off-road.”
The vehicle’s battery pack comprises 35 state-of-the-art lithium NMC battery modules mounted in three heavy-duty aluminium boxes underneath the vehicle. This arrangement ensures it is quick, convenient, and inexpensive to replace individual battery modules if required. A fully integrated heat pump-based thermal management system bolsters efficiency, and the Munro’s battery pack is guaranteed to deliver 80 per cent of its original energy capacity for at least eight years and 100,000 miles.
“With your average electric vehicle, the battery is designed to last the life of the car, so in most cases, customers will never have to worry about replacing it. But because the Munro is engineered to last several decades, we will either recondition or replace the battery pack for customers when the time comes. This has the added benefit of guaranteeing the future value of our customers’ vehicles,” explains Anderson. “We will partner with companies specialising in reuse and recycling to recoup the residual value of the battery pack, which will enable us to fit the latest battery technology at a reasonable cost.”