Scottish brand Munro unveils world’s most powerful 4×4 electric car
Scottish startup Munro Vehicles has unveiled its first model, the MK_1, which it calls “the world’s most capable all-electric 4×4 vehicle”.
The all-terrain electric vehicle, which is expected to enter small-scale production from 2023, is said to offer a 1000kg payload, 3500kg towing capacity and a 16-hour off-road duty cycle on a single battery charge. .
It is therefore designed as a zero-emissions option for users engaged in construction, agriculture, mining, environment, emergency rescue, remote infrastructure maintenance, and entertainment” without does not affect performance or capabilities,” according to the manufacturer.
“Hardly focused on performance, reliability, ease of repair and off-highway longevity, Munro is designed to provide owners and operators with decades of service,” it added. .
The MK_1 will be priced in the UK from £49,995 (AU$90,000) with the five-door, five-seat, 130-inch wheelbase ‘Gadget’ branding, with Munro claiming to have made some deposits, as well as orders from the UK, Switzerland, St Lucia and Dubai.
While the first batch will be made by hand next year, in 2024 Munro will move to a new purpose-built factory in central Scotland, where it was initially slated to produce over 250 pcs per year and gradually increase to 2500 pcs per year. to 2027.
Munro announced it would be the first carmaker to build cars at scale in Scotland since Peugeot-Talbot closed its Linwood plant in 1981.
Munro chose an axial flux electric motor, which is said to weigh half as much as the more common radial flux unit due to its higher power density. It is located between the two people sitting in the front seat in front of the car’s bulkhead.
Munro’s axial motor rotates from 5000 to 8000 rpm, the number of revolutions is much slower than usual. This negated the need for a gear reducer, allowing direct drive to the transmission from the motor. By mating to a two-speed transmission, the engine can operate at low speeds with greater efficiency, Munro claims.
When Munro is in High Drive mode, lifting the accelerator provides a degree of regenerative braking. But in low gear ‘Off-Road’, regenerative braking is much more pronounced, allowing for single-pedal driving.
The Munro has heavy-duty mechanical brakes that use unvented discs instead of vented discs that can get clogged in terrain.
The Munro is offered with a choice of two electric motors, generating 220kW and 280kW, and two battery packs with either 61kWh or 82kWh of energy capacity – the latter offering a driving range of more than 300km.
Although the 280 kW version accelerates to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds, it’s not really a vehicle that prioritizes punches in a straight line. Maximum torque of 700Nm is only available at a top speed of 50 mph (80 km/h), which enhances low-speed traction and crawling.
The battery pack consists of 35 NMC lithium modules mounted in three load-bearing aluminum boxes underneath the vehicle. This arrangement “ensures that the replacement of individual battery modules is quick, convenient and inexpensive,” added Munro.
“With your average electric vehicle, the battery is designed to extend the life of the vehicle, so in most cases the customer will never have to worry about battery replacement. But because the Munro is designed to last several decades, we will restore or replace the battery pack for our customers when the time is right,” said head of powertrain Ross Anderson.
Munro is supplied with either a 7kW or 22kW AC charger, as well as a CCS type DC charger.
Munro claims that they have not considered using a ‘skateboard’ chassis with two electric motors. Instead, the priority was to equip the Munro with a single, centrally mounted electric motor that powers the mechanical all-wheel drive.
“The best way to drive off-road is to make sure that the same amount of torque is delivered to each wheel and that all wheels rotate at the same speed. And no matter how smart your computer is, you will still have problems if you have a split power transmission in your car,” the company asserts.
It rests on a galvanized steel ladder frame made of 5mm thick steel. Munro builds its own axles and uses a combination of aftermarket products and “sports-derived parts” for the rest of the mechanical powertrain – motorsports they are. I mean off-road racing.
Off-road capability is enhanced by a large ground clearance of 480 mm and the ability to wade to a depth of 800 mm. The radical design allows for approach and departure angles of 84 and 51 degrees, plus a bend angle of 148 degrees.
Prior to its global launch, the MK_1 underwent an intensive two-year test program that tackled some of Scotland’s most demanding all-weather conditions (let’s be honest here, almost certainly Mostly mud and rain!).
The body is attached to the frame at eight points. The company says that although it initially outsourced bodywork, the aluminum panels are now laser-cut, shaped and folded on-site before being shipped a few meters to the company’s paint shop.
MK_1 is designed to handle 1000kg loads and European standard pallets in the loading bay. There are also two front lockers designed to carry charging cables, larger tools or wet weather gear.
Munro CEO Russell Peterson says the interior uses a lot of industrial switchgear.
“The switches will be familiar to anyone using agricultural equipment… they can be operated with gloves on, they are completely waterproof, so with door surfaces and hard floors, the whole vehicle is can be washed electrically from waist height,” added Mr. Peterson.
“Switches are virtually indestructible, but if they do, they can be quickly, easily, and inexpensively replaced.”
Munro is supplied with a wide selection of low power and high power DC converters to run auxiliary equipment such as winches and light bars. In addition to two USB C sockets and two wireless charging pads, MK_1 is also equipped with two household three-prong outlets.
The dashboard features a wipeable dual DIN display, compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It can also be upgraded with a more advanced unit or replaced with a UHF two-way radio.
In terms of sales, Munro said it will select a range of dealers to market the MK_1 but will not establish a traditional dealer network. Each car will be warranted for 5 years/160,000km.
“We recognize and respect our customers’ right to repair and service their vehicles, and doing so will not void warranties,” the company added.
Munro launched in 2019 with private funding provided by Mr. Anderson and Mr. Peterson, and an additional funding was raised by the end of 2021.
CEO Peterson recalls: “We had taken measures to reduce our own environmental impact and had a lot of our own electric driving experience, and were quite used to providing tissue- instant torque”.
“But the all-terrain vehicle that we were driving through the Highlands was internal combustion engine and it had a really hard time going uphill. So we considered how it would be better to have an electric motor.
“On our return journey, we stopped at a cafe in Braemar, where a 50kW fast charger was empty and unused. Parked nearby is a large group of internal combustion engine 4×4 safari adventurers of the type that are no longer in production and will eventually have to be replaced.
“We realized that there was a gap in the market for an electric, all-wheel drive, ergonomic horse-drawn carriage. We envisioned a vehicle with optimal all-terrain capability, going anywhere, unrestricted by a road-derived platform that limits the all-terrain ability of vehicles like semi-trucks. 4×4 downloads have dominated the market.”
As an aside, we think this might exist in Australia, particularly in the mining sector, where low mileage and poor ventilation are common factors…