4×4 EV start-up targets Defender market

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aria-label="munro ev 4x4 prototype 2022 front quarter"EV start-up Munro Vehicles is gearing up to launch its all-terrain 4×4, which it will supply to US industrial operations – including gold mines in Nevada – from 2023.

The 276kW 4×4 is one of a select few commercial EVs currently on the market and includes useful features such as permanent four-wheel drive with locking differentials.

Payload and towing capacities are competitive with the Toyota Land Cruiser Commercial and Land Rover Defender Hard Top. This means the EV could offer buyers a zero-emission alternative to the usual diesel suspects – so long as buyers can live with the 265-kilometre range and a price of around AUD$130,000.

The new vehicle is currently available for UK pre-orders but will be offered in the US from 2023 as part of a tie-up with EV sales, leasing and distribution specialist Wyre. The firm will target various industries including Canadian forestry businesses, Floridian farms, Texan oil fields and gold mines in Nevada.

Left-hand-drive cars will account for half of the Scottish firm’s 50-strong production run for 2023. It’s aiming to make 500 examples in 2024, 2500 in 2025 and 5000 annually by 2030.

aria-label="munro ev 4x4 prototype 2022 front downhill"The firm also has plans to produce knock-down vehicle kits (to be assembled in the US) should demand exceed the capacity of its factory. Such a scheme could allow it to qualify for the US’s new $7500 (AUD$11,000) EV tax subsidy, which applies to domestically built vehicles only.

Munro CEO Russ Peterson said: “North America is a key growth market for Munro and we’re pleased to be able to partner with Wyre to realise our ambitions ahead of our original timeline.

“We’re dedicating half of our 2023 production to left-hand-drive vehicles developed specifically for the US market, which Wyre will deliver to customers throughout the year.”

Peterson added: “This is just the beginning.”

Wyre managing director Rebecca Hansen said “the US is a massive market for this type of serious off-roader” and the firm is lobbying for the US to introduce a salary-sacrifice scheme for EVs similar to that offered in the UK.

“The price point of the Munro vehicle at around £75,000 [$88,500 in the US] is compelling,” said Hansen.

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