Tuesday 6 December 2022

Road - New kid on the grid

It maybe looks awfy familiar, but it is entirely different. A fully electric and functional off-roader. Designed and built by Munro Vehicles in East Kilbride, the Munro Mk1 has big ambitions and claims to be the world’s most capable all-electric 4x4, born off-road to tackle the most challenging terrain and operating for up to 16 hours on a single battery charge.

Priced from £49,995 (excluding VAT) in five-door, five-seat, 130-inch wheelbase this new Utility vehicle has a one tonne payload and three and half tonne towing capacity.

Munro Vehicles already has received deposits for several Munro Mk1s that it will hand-build next year. The new company also has big plans for volume production in 2024 with a new purpose built factory planned where production can be scaled up to 250 vehicles per 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.

Munro will therefore be 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.

The Munro is offered with a choice of two electric motors, 220kW and 280kW, along with the option of two battery packs, 61kWh and 82kWh, affording an optimum range of up 190 miles. This will allow the Munro to operate off-road for up to 16 hours on a single battery charge.

An axial flux electric motor was chosen as opposed to the more common radial flux unit. The lighter weight and compact nature of this motor enables it be sited between the two front seats resulting in a 50/50 weight distribution.

In addition, while most electric motors spin up to 15,000 rpm and thus require a reduction drive, the Munro’s axial motor spins between 5,000 and 8,000 rpm. This relatively low rotational rate negates the need for a reduction drive, and the additional weight and complexity it brings, by enabling drive to be taken directly to the transmission transfer case from the motor.  With a two-speed transmission, the motor can work in its 'happy place', where it performs with a much greater level of efficiency than a radial flux motor at low speed.

Every Munro is geared for torque, with a top speed of 80 mph, and the 280kW Performance version can surge to 62 mph in 4.9 seconds. However, the focus of the vehicle is firmly on utility, workability, and superior off-road drivability. Peak torque of 700Nm is available up to 50 mph, which ensures excellent response off-road.

The individually experienced and qualified team members behind the new vehicle have been working on the concept for a long time and founded the company in 2019. A number of 'founder' vehicles have been built and undergone trials and have already been shown to the trade and interested parties.

As for the design? It's plain and practical, but it does somehow remind me of something else. I just can't think what it might be, eh?

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