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Munro MK1 off-roader revealed as Scotland’s first production car in over 40 years

The British-built EV is intended as an alternative to traditional pickups and SUVs

Pitched as a zero-emissions utility vehicle, the Munro MK1 is an electric off-roader intended as an alternative to traditional pick-ups and SUVs across a number of demanding commercial sectors, as well as for private owners. Prices start from £49,995, with deliveries to early adopters set to begin in 2023, extending to all customers in 2024.

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With its sharp-edged styling, the MK1 presents as more military transport than new Defender, purposefully devoid of adornments and unnecessary trim. It’s telling that Munro’s head of design, Ross Compton, also worked on similarly utilitarian designs for US firm Bollinger Motors – a rival purveyor of electric, cuboid off-roaders. Traditional body-on-frame construction incorporates a choice of rubber or solid mounts, while the body itself incorporates practical features like external lockers for dirty equipment. 

The pragmatic, function-first approach extends to the interior, with switchgear designed to be both waterproof and useable with gloves. Munro even suggests that the cabin can be power-washed ‘from waist height down’. 

Power comes from a 220kW or 280kW axial flux motor, as opposed to more commonly used radial units. The single motor sends power directly to the transfer case as part of a mechanical four-wheel-drive system, rather than the more common motor-at-each-axle setup of an all-wheel-drive skateboard-chassis EV. 

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A two-speed transmission is used to make the most of the motor’s 700Nm peak torque (600Nm in lower-powered versions), which is available at up to 50mph. Big torque at road speeds means easy towing – Munro claims a braked trailer limit of 3500kg alongside a 1000kg payload for the car itself. As per EV tradition, the MK1 promises incongruously swift acceleration when not fully loaded: 0-62mph in the highest-powered version takes just 4.9 seconds in the top-spec model, or 7.6 seconds with the lower-power motor.

The MK_1 can be optimised for rough-terrain driving with its Off-Road setting, which allows for one-pedal operation thanks to pronounced regen for hill descent control. Ground clearance of 480mm is sure to help here too, as will approach and departure angles of 84 and 51 degrees respectively, 148 degrees of breakover angle and a maximum wading depth of 800mm. For comparison, the latest Land Rover Defender can tackle a maximum depth of 900mm, while the old model maxed out at 500mm. 

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Power is supplied by either a 61.2kWh or 82.4kWh battery. The latter gives a claimed range of up to 186 miles, or as Munro suggests, up to 16 hours of off-road operation. AC charging capability stands at 7kW as standard, although a 22kW option is available for a full charge in around three-and-a-half hours. DC charging is described simply as ‘industry-standard’ – Munro claims a full charge will take just over 30 minutes.

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The Munro MK1 will be offered in three variants: Utility, Range and Performance. The former is the entry-level example, starting at £49,995 ex. VAT and sporting the lower-powered motor and smallest battery for a range of 141 miles. Range (£59,995 ex. VAT) adds the larger battery for a range of 186 miles, while Performance tops the spec sheet at £69,995 ex. VAT with the most powerful motor and an unchanged 186-mile range.

The first Munro MK1 to roll off the line is set to make history as the first production car to be made in Scotland since Peugeot-Talbot ended operations at Linwood in 1981. Currently headquartered in East Kilbride, Munro has plans to expand to a bespoke production facility in central Scotland in 2024.

Meanwhile, Munro co-founder Ross Anderson has confirmed that the five-door MK_1 will be joined by a second variant.

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“We plan to introduce a wide range of variants to meet our customers’ diverse needs and will unveil our next model early next year,” Anderson stated.

Speaking at the MK1 launch event in Edinburgh, Russ Peterson, Munro co-founder and chief executive officer, all but confirmed that the new model will take the form of a pickup truck: “We’re launching [a new model] very eary next year. It’s a very popular bodystyle – especially in a America,” Peterson told Auto Express.

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Peterson also confirmed that Munro’s bespoke platform is upwardly scalable and so should allow for further models down the line: “A lot of the equipment we’ve taken on this vehicle – the heating system, the motor, the inverter – is actually designed for a much bigger vehicle; we’ve brought it down to smaller vehicles so we can get the reliability and performance.

“I see us moving up the model range and producing [vehicles] that are bigger, but I don’t think we’ll venture smaller just yet. Maybe that’ll change in the future but [it would use] a completely different platform, whereas this platform could support probably seven-and-a-half tonnes or above if we really wanted it to,” Peterson told us.

Peterson also confirmed that further expansion to the range is being investigated, not least with an eye on the higher-end private market. 

“We’re looking at [providing] a bespoke service for high-net-worth individuals who want a bit of a toy; taking the base platform – which is incredibly capable – and adding a bit extra on top,” Peterson said. “We’ve already sold one of those; the total build price is about a quarter of a million pounds. It’s properly decked out, [with] more power [and] a special motor”

Peterson followed by reaffirming Munro’s commercial aspirations: “We don’t want to encourage too many people to buy SUVs for the sake of it, so we’re not going for that middle market” he stated. Peterson suggested that a Munro is intended for those who “really need the ability or…want something really special”.

What do you think of the Munro MK1? Let us know in the comments section below…

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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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