Quite conspicuously, the 4x4 is custom-made to suit the needs of first responders for rapid interventions in remote and challenging areas. The battery-powered Munro comes with all the bells and whistles of the base model but adds roof-mounted blue lights, an enclosed space large enough to fit a stretcher inside, and room for four – the driver and three passengers – and their gear.
Chances are high the name Munro doesn’t have a familiar ring to it for most gearheads – if it even has any ring whatsoever – and the main reason is that the carmaker is still walking on all fours. The company launched its first product, the MK_1, this past December. The Scottish startup brags about its only model as being the ‘world’s most capable all-electric 4x4.’
You can scroll through the gallery to gaze at the brutishly angular Munro but put on a welder’s mask to protect your eye vision. The abruptly edgy Highlander looks like a three-year-old’s first try at drawing an automobile (and it's oddly cool for that exact reason).
The second visible feature is the raised stance of the thing, a natural talent for a vehicle created with one purpose in mind: go anywhere, indifferent to weather, season, surface, climate, or destination. The extremely short front overhang gives the driver a staggering 84-degree approach angle. That’s about a finger under downright vertical – not many off-roaders can claim that performance.
Instead of focusing on hypercar-touting horsepower figures and a one-to-one parity between axle count and the number of electric motors, the Scots decided to plant one midly-powerful electric motor in the middle of the car, right between the front seats.
Practically, there isn’t another automobile on our good old Planet Rotor that is more mid-engined (would mid-motored be the proper term for EVs?) than the Munro. That’s one of the reasons why the BEV 4x4 nails the ideal 50:50 weight distribution ratio.
Munro engineers chose the more expensive and resource-intensive axial motor to reduce weight and space –just 40 kg (88 lbs). And the square-looking 4x4 sports another significant advantage: the low RPM range of its powerplant. The Munro’s ‘pancake’ axial motor spins between 5,000 and 8,000 revolutions per minute, rendering a reduction drive unit useless.
The motor sends all its electric torque straight to the two-speed transfer case. Three locking diffs – one central and one on each of the live axles – ensure that the wheels always get equal amounts of torque. Take that, torque vectoring preachers. Smirky grins aside; the Munro is claimed to be a rock-crawling performer that would make a Land Rover Defender or a Jeep Gladiator turn yellow in envy. The lowest point of this EV's body sits 480 mm / 18.9 inches above the road. However, the real ground clearance is much less than that value - but the Scotland-based manufacturer doesn't tell the exact number on its website.
The three Munro versions share two powertrain and battery pack options: the Utility and Range both sport the 220-kW motor, while the Performance has the 280-kW muscle. The former two rely on a 61.2/56.3-kWh (gross/usable) modular battery pack. The liquid-cooled Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide cells run at 384.8 volts. The expensive Munro has an 82.4/75.8 kWh energy storage capacity with a nominal voltage rating of 388.5 V.
The maximum DC charge rate is 94 kW, giving this BEV a 15-80% replenishing time of 36 mins on a 100+ kWh charger. The AC charging rate is 22 kWh, meaning the 15-100% operation takes a full three hours. The range varies between a maximum of 190 miles (306 km) in optimal conditions to 85.5 miles (137.5 km) when towing a 3,500-kg (7716-lb) braked trailer. The numbers are valid for the more powerful motor and battery; the lesser hardware gives only 227 km / 141 miles of ideal-road autonomy.
If anyone wants to do an acceleration test in a boulder-climbing Munro, the best 0-62 mph (100 kph) time is 4.9 seconds, and terminal velocity is 129 kph / 80 mph. Another non-mainstream feature of this boxy off-road machine is its projected lifetime of 50 years – half a century, everyone. The frame is made of 5 mm-thick steel for that exact purpose, provided routine maintenance and regular updates are performed.