Fledgling Scottish electric vehicle (EV) start-up Munro Vehicles has broken Scotland’s 40-year-long car production drought by releasing its massive 4×4 off-road truck they call the MK 1. Founded only recently, Munro Vehicles was formed in 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland. Cultivating its hand-built production processes, Munro now brings us the first vehicle built at scale in the country since 1981.
Looking like a cross between a LandCruiser, a Range Rover and that whacky-looking Tesla CyberTruck, Munro’s first model, the MK 1 is a striking-looking vehicle with “a commanding presence off-road and on.” The MK 1, the first off-road electric vehicle from Munro Vehicles, marks the return of car manufacturing to Scotland after more than 40 years since Peugeot-Talbot closed its Linwood plant in 1981. The five-seat utility vehicle is entirely electric and built for off-road performance. However, Russell Peterson, CEO of Munro, advises the MK 1 is “more like a piece of machinery than an automobile.”
The Munro MK 1 is the world’s most capable all-electric 4×4, born off-road to traverse the most challenging terrain. Designed, engineered, and constructed in Britain, drivers can expect up to 16 hours on a single battery charge from what they’re calling “the ultimate, sustainable, utilitarian, off-road workhorse.”
Combining a cutting-edge 280kW electric drivetrain, which ensures no tailpipe emissions, with a dependable and easy-to-maintain mechanical driveline, the MK 1 aims for unmatched off-road capability while also minimising the environmental footprint.
Able to tow 3,500 kg and carry a cargo of 1,000 kg while carrying a crew of five easily in even the most demanding conditions, the Mk 1 is designed with a strong emphasis on off-highway performance, dependability, simplicity of maintenance, and longevity. MK 1 owners and operators will enjoy decades of service with routine maintenance and planned refurbishment.
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The idea for the MK 1 came to founders Russell Peterson and Ross Anderson after they realised the “combustion-engined” off-road vehicle they used to drive around the Scottish highlands “was really struggling on the steep climbs.” Afterwards, they stopped at a nearby cafe in Braemar, musing about how much better their experience would be with an electric motor.
“It dawned on us that there was a gap in the market for an electric-powered, four-wheel-drive, utilitarian workhorse,” Peterson told New Atlas. “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.”
Supporting this vision is the axial flux electric motor, which is “rarely used in the automotive mass-manufacture sector,” according to Anderson, due to them being “quite challenging to manufacture at scale”. Munro determined that “an axial flux electric motor provides the perfect solution” with significant critical advantages over more common radial flux units, including weight reduction, distribution, improved agility and a more efficient rotational rate that allows the motor to “work in its ‘happy place’, where it performs with a much greater level of efficiency than a radial flux motor at low speed.”
Pre-orders for the £49,995 (AUD$91,058.39) 4×4 EV are already flying out the door with much anticipation in the UK, Switzerland, St Lucia, and Dubai, alongside several pre-sale agreements with fleet operators in crucial industries.
In 2023, Munro Vehicles plans to hand-build 50 MK 1 EVs at its current East Kilbride headquarters before relocating production to a larger facility in the centre of Scotland in 2024, where it will grow to 250 EVs annually and provide 300 additional jobs. Munro anticipates that the new facility will eventually be able to produce up to 2,500 units annually. As for its arrival in Australia, “vehicles will also be offered for global ex-works export, for those that can manage approval and registration in their own region,” so your guess is as good as ours.
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