Businesses in sectors such as agriculture, forestry, construction, quarrying, mining, utilities and the military that want to reduce their carbon footprint don’t have many options when it comes to all-electric utility workhorse vehicles, but a new Scottish company, Munro, is planning to fill that gap in the market.
The Munro ‘MK_1’, described by the company as “the world’s most capable all-electric 4×4”, is a new ‘ground up’ design. It has a silhouette that’s not dissimilar to the previous generation Land Rover Defender, with comparable statistics in terms of ground clearance (480mm to the bottom of the body, and 280mm to the bottom of the axle) and wading depth (800mm), but although the Munro has a similar wheelbase to that of a Land Rover Defender 130, it’s actually narrower. The slimmer width is a requirement specified by potential customers who need to get through narrow openings such as farm gates.
The Munro will be available with two power outputs; 220 kW which will offer a 2.5-tonne towing weight, and 280 kW with a 3.5 tonne towing weight. Along with torque of 700 Nm, a 0-62 mph time of 4.9 seconds is possible, and with a 1,000 kg payload, the MK_1 will be capable of transporting a crew of five and equipment across all terrains.
Two battery sizes will be available, 61 kWh and 82 kWh, offering a range of 2-2.5 miles per kWh, which potentially translates to a range between 122 miles to 205 miles. This could provide a 16-hour off-road duty cycle on a single battery charge. The battery features a fully integrated heat pump-based thermal management system.
The MK_1 can be AC charged at 7 kW or 22 kW, and Munro says that rapid charging using a CCS connector can charge the battery in 30 minutes.
A departure from 4×4 EV tradition is the use of just one ‘axial flux’ electric motor, which is mounted in front of the passenger compartment. This electric motor is more expensive to manufacture but it provides greater torque than traditional ‘radial flux’ motors, and it’s compact, weighing 40kg rather than 80kg. The MK_1 has a near-50/50 weight distribution front/rear.
The motor spins at a relatively low 5,000 rpm to 8,000 rpm, meaning that it doesn’t need a reduction drive, so saving additional weight and complexity. With a two-speed transmission, the motor works efficiently at low speed.
The motor also provides a greater degree of brake regeneration than a traditional motor, especially in its ‘low/off-road gear’, which assists with hill descent control.
The electric powertrain is mated to a mechanical four-wheel-drive system – a central locking differential is standard, with front and rear locking differentials offered as options – all housed in a ladder chassis constructed with 5mm thick galvanised steel. The MK_1 features modular components and is designed to cost less to run and maintain than any mainstream alternatives. Munro says that the MK_1 is engineered for 50 years of service with routine maintenance and planned refurbishment.
The Munro MK_1 isn’t on sale yet; it’s still at an early stage of development, although it has been subjected to an intensive two-year test programme, tackling some of Scotland’s most demanding conditions in all weathers. There are plans to manufacture 50 vehicles in 2023, ramping up to 250, and then 2,500 by 2027. Although the Munro is primarily designed to be an extremely rugged option for businesses that need to tackle challenging terrain, the original concept for the EV was a leisure vehicle for personal use, and Munro won’t be turning away such orders.
Prices for the MK_1 are £49,995 excluding VAT for the entry-level model, £59,995 excluding VAT for the mid-range model, and £69,995 excluding VAT for the top of the range version.
Munro CEO founder Ross Anderson told Green Car Guide that the challenges of bringing an all-new EV to market included the requirement for safety features such as airbags, which is something that the company is addressing at present.
Munro Vehicles was founded in 2019 by Russell Peterson and Ross Anderson; neither have a background in the automotive industry. We wish Munro good luck, including with raising the next round of finance, and we look forward to driving an early production model in 2023.