An all-electric 4x4 designed specifically for some of the dirtiest all-terrain work has become the first light vehicle manufactured in Scotland in more than four decades.

It comes after Munro Vehicles, Scotland’s only volume car company, announced the completion of its first pre-production model. 

The white Series-M Utility, a hard top five-seater 4x4, left its factory in East Kilbride this week, 10 months after Munro unveiled the MK_1 prototype model in Edinburgh.

The start of manufacturing for Munro signifies the return of light vehicle mass production to Scotland for the first time since the closure of the Linwood car plant in 1981.

Munro was set up in 2019 by chief executive Russell Peterson and Ross Anderson, the company’s head of powertrain. 

READ MORE: 'For me this is it': Munro boss lays out electric aspirations

Mr Peterson, who previously ran a software business in Edinburgh, said the venture began very much as a “hobby project” during an off-road camping trip in the Highlands.

Engineered to allow sectors such as mining, construction, utilities, agriculture and defence to decarbonise the biggest vehicles in their fleets, the Munro MK_1 features a 1,000kg payload, 3,500kg towing capacity, and a 16 hour off-road duty cycle on a single battery charge.

Munro said the roll-out of the Series-M Utility signifies the next phase of its strategic vision to build 2500 vehicles per year and create an additional 300 jobs in Scotland by 2027 to support global sales.

Marcus Mackle, Munro Head of Vehicle Sales, said: “Witnessing the first pre-production Munro Series-M Utility roll off the line is a momentous moment. Both for Munro and Scotland, as the Series-M Utility is the first light vehicle to enter mass production since the Linwood car factory closed in 1981.

“While it represents an undeniably historic occasion, Munro’s focus is firmly on the future. With a healthy, two-year customer pipeline worth £68 million for the innovative and sustainability-focussed Munro Series-M Utility hard top and Series-M Truck open-bed, we can look forward with confidence. 

The Herald: Russell Peterson (left) and Ross AndersonRussell Peterson (left) and Ross Anderson (Image: Munro Vehicles)

Munro said the Series-M range comes following an intensive period of development “that pushed the vehicle to the limit in the unforgiving Scottish terrain that inspired the company’s name”. 

“Our customers spoke, we listened and we acted,” added Munro CEO and co-founder Russell Peterson. 

“Their feedback drove us to achieve even greater levels of innovation. This enabled us to create a highly versatile, sustainable and enduring electric 4x4 to help customers transition to net zero and protect the environment.

“After listening to our customers, we introduced numerous improvements. These included an adjustable steering column with steering wheel controls, plus a raft of ergonomic enhancements. A full suite of safety equipment, including airbags, ABS brakes, stability, and traction control, is also now offered.”

Munro, which was named as finalist in the Fully Charged awards for Best innovative EV Manufacturer, said that more than 250 pre-orders for both the Utility and Truck models of the Series-M Utility have been received.  

Currently based in East Kilbride, the EV startup revealed to The Herald in March that it was looking for a larger site to create capacity for the projected construction of 250 vehicles in 2024. 

A couple of locations in central Scotland are under consideration, where Mr Peterson believes there is an “under-utilised” manufacturing workforce.

“We have been chatting with local government and councils around development sites, and we are quite keen to stay in this area,” he said. “I think ultimately it will come down to the economics and the operational side of it – being able to get a site that is big enough to meet our needs.”