Munro Vehicles today took the wraps off its first-ever vehicle, the MK_1 electric off-roader. The company claims that the MK_1 is an SUV that’s as rugged and capable as it is eco-friendly.
One Motor To Rule Them All
Depending on the ticked option box, the Munro MK_1 offers either 295 hp (220 kW/299 PS) or 375 hp (280 kW/381 PS) and up to 516 lb-ft (700 Nm) of torque. Unlike most other electric AWD SUVs, though, this comes from just one motor, instead of motors at each axle.
Munro chose to use a single electric motor because of its intense focus on off-roading. The power unit is placed in the middle of the SUV to help it achieve near-perfect 50/50 weight distribution. It also allows a perfect torque distribution.
“The best way to drive off-road is to ensure that the same amount of torque is delivered to each wheel and that all the wheels spin at the same speed,” said Russell Peterson, Munro’s CEO. “And no matter how clever your computer is, you’re still going to have problems if you’ve got a split driveline in the vehicle.”
Read: Munro EV Is A No-Frills Off-Roader From Scotland, Coming In The US In 2023
After much deliberation, the team chose to go with an axial flux motor. The unit weighs half as much as a more common radial flux motor (88 lbs/40 kg in the case of the Munro MK_1). That also means that the motor spins slower, eliminating the need for a reduction drive, which allows the torque to go straight from the motor to the two-speed transmission to the transfer case and work in its most efficient RPM range at all times.
Axial flux motors also generate high torque in reverse, which means that the regenerative braking is particularly strong. There is also, of course, a heavy-duty mechanical braking system.
Although Munro is clear that it’s focused on off-road performance, it says that the motor can get the MK_1 up to 62 mph (100 km/h) in just 4.9 seconds. The top speed is limited to 80 mph (129 km/h), though.
In terms of batteries, the Munro MK_1 will be offered with either a 61 kWh or an 82 kWh pack, offering up to 190 miles (306 km) of range. It’s made up of NMC battery modules that are mounted in heavy-duty aluminum boxes under the vehicle.
Munro didn’t want to use a skateboard chassis, because it wants the MK_1 to be more durable. The company says it wants to be able to refurbish or replace battery modules as necessary. The batteries can be recharged overnight with a standard plug or in just over 30 minutes at a DC fast charger.
The MK_1 sits on a galvanized steel ladder chassis and is constructed of 5 mm (0.19-inch) thick steel. It has 480 mm (19 inches) of ground clearance, the ability to wade through water at a depth of up to 800 mm (31 inches), and 84-degree approach and 51-degree departure angles, as well as a 148-degree breakover angle.
Munro makes its own axles. For the coilovers, the radius arms, and the steering bars, Munro turned to 4×4 competition specialists to deliver high-performance capabilities, and a center-locking differential comes standard. The front and rear locking diffs are offered as options.
“From the outset, we wanted to create an electric-powered off-road vehicle that would perform without compromise in any condition. But we also wanted to design a vehicle that provides a high level of space and comfort for a full crew and all their kit,” explains Ross Compton, Head of Design. “So, a five-door, five-seat body, with a class-leading 130-inch wheelbase, was a given from the start.”
The MK_1 is also big enough to hold a standard Euro pallet in the load bay. It can haul up to 1,000 kg (2,205 lbs) and can tow up to 3,500 kg (7,716 lbs). Although Munro has worked to add rubber and soft materials to reduce NVH and improve cabin comfort, it remains a utility vehicle.
“Our customers should be able to throw things in the back without feeling bad,” said Peterson. “We’ve used thick plywood for the lining of the cargo area. It gives a nice definition between the steel and aluminum material, but more importantly, it’s tough and extremely hard wearing.”
Starting at £49,995
The company is already taking deposits for the first batch of “Founders Edition” models that will be built at its headquarters in Kilbride, Scotland. A new purpose-built factory is being built in central Scotland, with production planned to start there in 2024.
Munro will initially produce just 250 units per year but claim they will eventually raise this figure to 2,500 examples. Prices for the off-roader start at £49,995 ($61,054 USD at current exchange rates).