Attention every Marvel movie villain: Your electric vehicle has arrived! The B1 SUV and B2 pickup are Bollinger’s latest step towards serial EV production, with sales scheduled to begin in 2021.
“I don’t do the sweeping design thing.” This was Robert Bollinger’s polite, matter-of-fact response to us having asked why the B1 and B2 have the aerodynamics of a Rubik’s cube. Trained with a background in industrial design, Bollinger is the founder and CEO of Bollinger Motors, the company behind these two square-edged electric vehicles.
The Bollinger B1 (right) and B2 (left) are electric powered and have more than 600 horsepower. (Photo Nick Kurczewski)
The marketing angle is simple: Bollinger Motors seeks to build rugged, individualistic, and entirely electric trucks meant for serious off-road adventures. They’re spartan inside, with interiors that can be hosed out – and no, you won’t electrocute yourself by doing so. But it’s the Tonka-truck-like exterior, with flat aluminum panels and chunky all-terrain tires, that are the main attraction. Even if these two trucks were pedal powered, people would take notice.
Robert Bollinger seemed relaxed as we talked trucks and ate pizza in Ferndale, Michigan, only minutes away from the upstart company’s headquarters. Having moved to Detroit in June of 2018, Bollinger Motors now has about 30 employees. “Most of them are engineers,” says Bollinger, adding they’ve only just hired someone who’s fully dedicated to managing the financial side of things. Getting the mechanical side of these trucks up and running has been the main goal until this point.
Combine a Tesla with a vintage Land Rover, and the result would be something like the Bollinger B1 seen here. (Photo: Nick Kurczewski)
The company’s story actually stretches back roughly a decade, to when Robert Bollinger left New York City after more than two decades working in marketing. His next stop would be a farm in the Catskills, some 80 miles west of Albany.
While working on the property he’d purchased, Bollinger noted the shortcomings of his daily driver pickup truck. More instant-on torque and traction were needed, while a simple build and rugged design were paramount. Easy maintenance was important and, yes, so was an exterior featuring exposed rivets, visible door hinges, and 90-degree angles everywhere you look. After helping a friend manage and then sell a business devoted to hair care products, Bollinger used the money to create the electric truck he always wanted, but one he says didn’t exist until now.
The Bollinger B2 pickup has a 96-inch expandable bed that can be opened up to the four-passenger interior. Photo: Nick Kurczewski
The Bollinger B1 and B2 are Class 3 trucks according to the EPA, similar to the heavy-duty versions of popular pickups such as the Ford F-250, Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD, and Ram 2500. The Bollinger trucks have dual motors, one in the front and one in the rear, coupled to a 120-kWh battery pack mounted within the frame. Imagine a giant skateboard with a truck body attached, and you have the general idea of the mechanical layout. The chassis is structural, waterproof, and has under-body protection against rocks or other obstacles encountered when venturing off-pavement.
The B1 and B2 pickup are meant to be no-nonsense work trucks, though these early prototypes have unique touches, like these wood strakes that were repurposed from old church pews. (Photo: Nick Kurczewski)
With their brutish exterior design, you expect the Bollinger trucks to have the muscle to back up the bravado. On paper, they live up to the hype. With a total of 614 horsepower and 668 pound-feet of torque, Bollinger Motors estimates the B1 and B2 need about 4.5 seconds to accelerate from zero to 60 mph. For comparison, a Tesla Model S Long Range model takes 3.7 seconds to get to 60 mph. That’s impressive pace, considering the B1 and B2 tip the scales around 5,000 pounds apiece. Top speed is set at 100 mph.
Total driving range is estimated at 200 miles-per-charge. Using a Level 2 recharger, Bollinger says the battery pack needs 10 hours for a complete recharge. Regenerative braking is fitted and some form of fast-charge capability will be available by the time they go on sale.
The 17-inch wheels are fitted with Pirelli Scorpion all-terrain tires. (Photo: Nick Kurczewski)
All-wheel drive is standard and the two-speed transmission offers a high and low ranges; even in low, the trucks can reach 60 mph. Off-road credentials include the capability to ford through 36 inches of water, 15 inches of ground clearance, 10 inches of wheel travel, a 52-degree front approach angle, and portal axles with inboard disc brakes. Portal axles are pricey; only the most hardcore off-road vehicles have them, but they allow for greater ground clearance.
Portal axles provide extra ground clearance, while the battery pack is housed in a rugged chassis that’s water-proofed and protected from rocks and other obstacles. (Photo: Nick Kurczewski)
Jeep fans will be especially happy to know the B1 and B2 have removable doors, removable roof panels, and even a removable windshield for some wind in your face (and bugs in your teeth) driving excitement. Perhaps the most interesting feature, or one we found particularly photogenic during our tour of the Bollinger HQ, is how the cargo bay runs the entire length of the vehicle. Bollinger reps suggest it’s perfect for hauling long pieces of lumber.
How is this for a cargo pass through in your next electric truck? The Bollinger B1 and B2 give new meaning to cargo versatility. (Photo: Nick Kurczewski)
Towing capacity is 7,500 pounds, though the B1 claims a higher payload rating at 5,201 pounds, versus 5,001 in the B2. There is seating for only four people, partly because of that wide cargo pass-through that extends from the front storage space back to the rear cargo area and/or pickup bed. The “frunk” measures in at 14 cubic feet, which is about what you’d get in a typical midsize sedan.
So, what don’t the Bollinger electric trucks offer? Airbags, to start – or any other form of active safety like automatic emergency braking or forward collision alert. Bollinger is conducting safety simulations, however, and is specifically testing how the B1 and B2 perform when a pole hits the cabin at approximately 40 mph, similar to one crash test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. As for self-driving or advanced driver assist, these technologies do not factor into Bollinger’s plans.
The cabin of the B1 and B2 is extremely simple and has only the basics included. (Photo: Nick Kurczewski)
There are also no power windows, no interior carpeting, and only the most basic display for the radio (located in the center of the dashboard, flanked by two dials for volume and tuning). The transmission is controlled via a delicate chrome wand that sprouts from the steering column. There are only four main dials in front of the driver, and the heating and ventilation ducts are housed within a circular tube that stretches across the top of the dashboard.
“It’s not a luxury to have a posh vehicle,” Robert Bollinger told us before the media unveiling. “It’s a luxury to have [a vehicle] with this level of capability.”
When they arrive in 2021, expect the Bollinger B1 and B2 to be priced comparably to higher-end Teslas and range-topping models of the Rivian R1T and R1S. (Photo: Nick Kurczewski)
The B1 and B2 will be built in very low volumes and carry a relatively high price. Setting an exact figure remains a work in progress, however. A reasonable guess would peg the entry price close to $100,000. Only 1,000 examples will be built in 2021, and Bollinger Motors is finalizing exactly where in the U.S. production will take place.
It remains to be seen how Bollinger Motors fares between now and the company’s planned sales launch. But the extreme design of the B1 and B2 show the level of creativity a company can have when it’s not working around a traditional gas-powered engine.