Over the last few years, Auto Futures has covered the electrification of the transportation industry in-depth. But it’s been mainly in the automotive and logistics sector. Scotland’s Munro Vehicles is doing something different. Based in Glasgow, Munro’s team have developed an electric off-roader capable of carrying an on-board payload of 1,000 KG with over 280 kilometers of range.
“Basically, it’s a heavy-duty EV 4×4 primarily for commercial use in off-road environments. It has around 150 miles of range, rapid charging and over 200 horsepower. Inside it has a basic interior which is heavy duty and mostly washable, with 5 individual seats and a 1-meter cubed of uninterrupted load bay in the back. It’s capable of carrying 1 tonne and towing up to 3.5 tonne,” Russ Peterson, Munro’s CEO tells Auto Futures.
Peterson, and co-founder Ross Anderson, launched the company in 2019 following a camping trip to the Scottish Highlands. They initially set to work converting a Land Rover to electric, before pivoting the company to develop an all-new 4×4 electric vehicle. That vehicle is the the Munro Mark 1.
“We loved the idea of buying a rugged electric vehicle for work, camping and exploring, but such a vehicle didn’t seem to exist yet. With reliable charging infrastructure emerging across Europe and beyond, we started to consider the possibilities,” explains Peterson.
Munro’s ambitions are now to build all-terrain electric vehicle. Peterson says it’s aimed at: “Forestry, agriculture, mining, rescue, utility… anyone with one or more vehicles which have off-road abilities.”
Farming alone is responsible for approximately 10% of all UK greenhouse gas output, including 1.7% of all carbon dioxide emissions, with mining responsible for 4-7% of all global emissions, says the company.
“We have over 200,000 farms in the UK, most of which have diesel pick-up trucks. These trucks spend most of their life driving off-highway, at low speeds and often just idling. Farmers are also early adopters of wind and solar energy. We’re proposing that they use that energy being generated on-site to fuel their light vehicles.”
The Munro Mark 1 will be built in Glasgow creating up to 300 new manufacturing jobs.
We’re doing a deep-dive into exactly what our commercialisation plan looks like in the coming months. But we remain fairly open minded, and obviously very focused on building a good product for our markets,” he says.
Extreme Testing in Hot and Cold Climates
As you can imagine, the Munro Mark 1 is extremely robust and have been designed to reach some of the wildest and most rugged parts of the world. For example, the electrical components are completely protected against water and dust, and that means few service requirements.
Having undergone considerable off-road testing, Munro expects its Mark 1 to be production line ready later this year with first vehicle deliveries to be made in 2023.
“The Munro has been extensively tested in extreme off-road environments across Scotland. We’re about to embark on a more in-depth testing programme throughout the UK and ultimately in hot and cold climates such as North Africa and Norway,” says Peterson.
“We’re doing a deep-dive into exactly what our commercialisation plan looks like in the coming months. But we remain fairly open minded, and obviously very focused on building a good product for our markets,” he adds.
An Exciting Year Ahead for Munro Vehicles
In April 2022 Munro announced it had received investment from Elbow Beach Capital, a private investment company focused on sustainable energy, transition technology and social impact businesses.
In a press statement, Jon Pollock, CEO of Elbow Beach Capital, comments: “This is only just the start for Munro; we have seen the prototype in action and were incredibly impressed by its versatility and overall performance under challenging conditions – these will be fit for purpose all-terrain vehicles which just happen to be powered by electricity. With Mark 1 nearing production-readiness, 2022 is going to be an exciting year for the Munro team.”
Pollock has joined Munro’s board of directors.
“This investment is beneficial for the local economy and will allow us to source as many of our parts from within the UK as possible, cutting down on carbon emissions from shipping. We have a huge job ahead of us to take the Mark 1 to production but with Elbow Beach’s backing we feel empowered to make it happen,” adds Peterson.
“We’re using the funding to establish a new facility – think of it like a micro production line, which we will use to build a fleet of prototype and pre-production vehicles. This site will form the blueprint of our future factories.”
Munro is expecting to raise further funds in 2022 to scale the production line, recruit assembly staff and complete first deliveries of pre-ordered vehicles.
Finally we asked Peterson what electric mobility will look like by 2030.
“We’re hopeful that by 2030 that most vehicles have been replaced with electric, and there will be solutions nearing commercialisation for the small proportion of combustion vehicles left,” he answers.