If you’re in the market for a rugged 4×4 that’ll take you through ultra-low emissions zones with no dramas then you might want to consider MW Motors’ Spartan.

Effectively a Czech/Indian half-bred with its roots originally in the Russian military’s UAZ Hunter, the rolling chassis and shell is shipped from the sub-continent to the company’s Pilsen plant where it is kitted out with a 61kW lithium ion battery and 130kW motor to give it a range of 150 miles and up to 1075Nm of torque.

And that’s where this revitalised Soviet-bloc off-roader comes into its own. With such impressive bottom-end grunt it is able to tow up to 3.0t and, being able to carry 1,025kg in the trunk, it will be VAT-friendly when it makes it through UK and EU homologation schemes at some point this year.

From the motor back the driveline of the Spartan is mechanically the same as its Stalin-esque predecessors – power goes into a 4wd transfer box with arm-draulic high and low ranges. There are also clunk-click twist-grips to engage diff-locks front and rear. Coil springs at each corner – support a live beam axle at the rear while up front an independent wishbone set-up is employed.

The brainchild of a Czech-resident Irish entrepreneur – Morris Ward – the Spartan has another trick up its sleeve. Its on-board inverter not only means it can charge from a range of power sources, it can also be used as a mobile power-pack. Known in automotive circles as Vehicle-to-Load (V-to-L) technology, this effectively means the 4×4 can act as a storage battery that can be charged from a solar array, turbine or off-peak source and then used to provide power when its needed at either remote locations or when parked up outside the farmhouse.

All this clever tech does come at a cost however. Despite being a fairly basic vehicle on the face of it, the three-door two-seater commercial-spec. Spartan on show at Lamma wades in at £44,995. We’re told a five-seater is on the way.

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