Start-up builds ultra-functional, all-electric SUV you’ll definitely want

Bollinger Motors – you’re forgiven if you’ve never heard of it. It’s a three-year-old company with only seven employees based in Hobart, New York, a town of only 403 people. But don’t let its size fool you; Bollinger Motors just debuted an all-electric SUV with 4WD, a towing capacity of 6,100 pounds, a 0-to-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds, and a range of 200 miles on a single charge. Oh, and it has a reconfigurable/removable hard top and can carry objects 12-feet long between the seats in its bumper-to-bumper cargo pass-through. Interested yet? You’d better be.

It’s called the B1 and it’s currently a one-off prototype built by hand in a renovated automotive repair shop in Hobart. But the dream for CEO Robert Bollinger is much, much larger. The vision is to pioneer and dominate a new segment of electric off-road pickups and SUVs. But to get there, Bollinger needs a builder. Current talks with established U.S. automakers and manufacturers are already underway. A report from AutoWeek suggests AM General is on the short list thanks to its open capacity to serve as a full-scale production partner. But despite not having secured a manufacturer, Bollinger says deliveries of the B1 will begin in 19 months, meaning February 2019. Initial sales will be conducted directly through Bollinger and reservations are already open. Starting in early 2018, customers can secure their reservation and order their B1 with a $1,000. Pricing is expected to start around $60,000.

Continue reading for more information.

The Layout

2019 Bollinger B1 Exterior
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The B1 certainly takes inspiration from various vehicles throughout history.

The Bollinger B1 is a completely original vehicle with a heavy-duty aluminum chassis custom-designed for this project. While bespoke, the B1 certainly takes inspiration from various vehicles throughout history.

The chassis is similar to the Humvee, having a central tunnel that houses drivetrain components between the main frame rails. But unlike the diesel-powered military truck, the B1 has no engine and therefore has no drivetrain components protruding above the frame. This gives the B1 a “frunk,” or front trunk, with 14 cubic feet of storage space. The four seats sit on the outside of each fame rail (like the Humvee), while a flat load floor extends from inside the frunk to the rear cargo area. A pass-through door below the dashboard allows long cargo to be slid through the entire length of the SUV. Obviously, this gives the B1 an extraordinary level of versatility, which extends to nearly every inch around this truck. Let’s dig into those details…

Exterior

2019 Bollinger B1 Exterior
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2019 Bollinger B1 Exterior
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Tesla Model X + Land Rover Defender = All-Electric Awesomeness

The aluminum chassis and electric drivetrain are clearly the heart of the B1’s design, but the body’s design continues the functionality originating within the frame. Aesthetically, the B1 looks like a cross between a first-generation (1966-1977) Ford Bronco and a Land Rover Defender. The square shape offers the most usable interior space while being simple to manufacture.

Up front, the frunk is accessed by lifting the “hood” and dropping the “tailgate.” Yeah, that’s odd combination, but the result is tons of access to the interior space. The steel front bumper provides protection and a spot for a recovery winch. It also has two recovery points, too. LED headlights are energy efficient and provide excellent light at night. Vents on the front end and atop the fenders keep the electric powertrain cool and provide air for the HVAC system.

2019 Bollinger B1 Exterior
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2019 Bollinger B1 Exterior
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Around the sides, protective panels line the squared-off fender openings and steel rocker guards help protect the body and undercarriage from off-road obstacles – not that the 33-inch, LT285/70/R17 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM tires and 20 inches of ground clearance need much help. The rear is protected just the same, with a steel bumper and integrated recovery points.

The Bollinger B1’s rear also holds much of its utility. The tailgate folds like a typical pickup’s, giving access to the cargo area. But, Bollinger’s ingenious hardtop design is just astounding. The side glass panels are removable, as is the top. What’s left is the rear C-pillars and the horizontal roof supports that connect the B- to the C-pillars. With those removed, though, the C-pillar and rear window section can be moved forward and latched to the B-pillar, essentially creating a single-cab pickup.

Interior

2019 Bollinger B1 Interior
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Like the outside, the dash is crafted from metals held in place with rivets.

it’s almost hard to distinguish between the exterior and interior on such a utilitarian, open-top SUV. With the top removed, the B1 has that open-air feeling while still retaining its functionality. Let’s start with the dash: like the outside, the dash is crafted from metals held in place with rivets. The instrumentation is simple, limited to a few analog gauges and a digital readout for monitoring more complex systems. All the switches are mounted in a line just below the steering column. The old-school, pull-style knobs provide control for the air suspension, lights, HVAC fan and temperature controls, and the front and rear locking differentials. And speaking of the HVAC system, the vents are cleverly integrated into round tubes atop the dash.

The old-school feel continues thanks to the steering column itself. It appears to be a General Motors tilting column complete with the pull-out hazard light button, the PRNDL window for the column shifter, and even the old square GM ignition key. Between the front bucket seats is a removable tray that acts as an armrest and mounting point for accessories like a toolbox.

In back, the rear bucket seats are mounted to the walls, allowing them to fold up against the window to free up floor space. It’s a similar design to the Toyota Land Cruiser. With the seat folded up and the tailgate down, the B1 will carry a whopping 72 sheets of 1/2-inch-thick sheets of 4x8 drywall.

Drivetrain

2019 Bollinger B1 Drivetrain High Resolution
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The Bollinger B1 is offered with two battery pack options: a 60 kWh and a 100 kWh.

The Bollinger B1 is offered with two battery pack options: a 60 kWh and a 100 kWh. The 100 kWh pack steals headlines with its 360 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque. The result is a 0-to-60 mph time of just 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 127 mph – impressive for a 4WD vehicle weighing 3,900 pounds. Do the math, and that works out to a 10.8 power to weight ratio, meaning each horsepower only has to carry 10.8 pounds. Driving range maxes out at 200 miles, or 120 miles with the 60 kWh battery pack.

Rotational energy comes from two electric motors, one at each axle. These synchronous electric motors provide the 4WD system, while offering a towing capacity of 6,100 pounds and a GVWR of 10,001 pounds. Front and rear locking differentials allow for hard-core off-roading, as do the Portal hubs at each wheel and a fully independent suspension system. Heavy-duty, vent disc brakes with regenerative braking are mounted inboard of each half-shaft, meaning there is less unsprung weight at each wheel. The suspension system is comprised of a double wishbone setup at each corner, sprung with adjustable airbags that raise and lower the ride height by 10 inches.

2019 Bollinger B1 Drivetrain High Resolution
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Bollinger says the battery, motors, and connectors are all water tight, even lasting for 30 minutes submerged under 3.3 feet of water.

Charging is handled via a J1772 universal connector. Both 110-volt and 220-volt charging is accepted, while a “DC Fast” charge offers Level 3 recharging. Bollinger says the battery, motors, and connectors are all water tight, even lasting for 30 minutes submerged under 3.3 feet of water. While it sounds impressive, that is the standard for all EVs. Then again, the water survivability is extra important for such a capable, go-anywhere rig.

Pricing

2019 Bollinger B1 Exterior
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Bollinger has not released the official pricing for the B1, but expects the MSRP to list around $60,000 for the 60 kWh model. Opting for the 100 kWh model will cost another $8,000 or so, putting it closer to a $70,000 price tag. Still, that’s not bad when considering it offers 200 miles of range and outstanding 4WD capability. Still, its lack of creature comforts and modern safety tech mean some won’t feel comfortable using as a daily driver.

The biggest negative currently facing Bollinger is finding a manufacturing partner. While a deal with AM General seems promising, nothing is set in stone right now. Should things work out, Bollinger expects B1 production to begin in 19 months from now, or in February of 2019.

Conclusion

2019 Bollinger B1 Exterior
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The Bollinger B1 is an ambitious project, especially for such a small company. Nevertheless, with CEO Robert Bollinger’s history of running successful companies outside the automotive sector, the small start-up certainly has more than a fighting chance. Add to that the outstanding capability baked into every inch of the B1, and Bollinger could soon be a household name. Still, it’s hard to see the B1 being anything beyond a niche vehicle for automotive and outdoor enthusiasts, but that won’t stop Bollinger from building other vehicles in the future. As for what’s coming, only Robert and his crack team of experts know what the future holds.

  • Leave it
    • * Unproven company
    • * B1 still needs a manufacturer
    • * Can get expensive

Today, Bollinger Motors revealed the all-electric B1 sport utility truck to a global audience during a media event at the Classic Car Club of Manhattan.

Created from a clean sheet using a lightweight aluminum architecture, the Bollinger B1 is innovating the truck category by building the world’s first fully working prototype of an all-electric sport utility truck. The B1 is painted in a special “Gunhouse” Grey, which is a nod to the road where the development work was completed, with black accents and a black satin wheel finish to complete the exterior appearance. The vehicle incorporates a rugged, heavy-duty truck design with a classic, 3-box look that will resonate with contemporary and traditional off-road vehicle enthusiasts. At an overall length of 150 (in), a width of 76.5 (in) and a height 73.5 (in) the B1 has an impressive stance and a perfect 50/50 weight balance front to back and side to side. The dual-motor powertrain provides full-time all-wheel drive, with best in class horsepower, torque and ground clearance distinguishing it from every other truck currently on the market.

“We are so thrilled to be able to finally take the wraps off of our Bollinger B1 SUT,” said Bollinger Motors’ founder and CEO, Robert Bollinger. “This is the culmination of what has been a 40-year-long boyhood dream of mine and I couldn’t be more pleased with the vehicle and the incredible team who worked so hard to create it.”

2019 Bollinger B1 Exterior
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CHASSIS

The B1 employs an advanced chassis structure to underpin the vehicle and house its battery system and provide support for its off roading components.

The all-aluminum chassis with a high-strength, low-alloy (HSLA) steel rollover structure is designed for optimal off road vehicle proportions. It sports a wheelbase of 105 inches, front and rear track of 68 inches, an approach angle of 56 degrees, departure angle of 53 degrees, and break over angle of 33 degrees. The chassis by itself weighs just 295 pounds while not sacrificing structural or torsional rigidity. The base ride height provides for 15.5 inches of ground clearance but will be adjustable using a self-leveling, 4-wheel independent, hydro-pneumatic suspension within the 10 inches of wheel travel. Disconnectable anti-roll bars allow traction enhancing, full suspension articulation during off-road maneuvers.

“Because the entire drivetrain and battery storage system is located between the chassis rails, the B1 has abundant and unique storage areas and a very low center of gravity providing for unsurpassed stability,” said Karl Hacken, Bollinger Motors’ lead engineer. “The hydraulically-assisted steering rack was designed in-house allowing us the ability to fine tune the driving dynamics to our exact specifications.”

The chassis rides on Mud Terrain LT285/70/R17 tires with high offset aluminum wheels for go anywhere traction and performance. The wheels are attached with eight lugs to knuckle-housed, geared axle hubs, which allow the entire suspension system to be raised on the chassis giving it the ability to clear a multitude of off-road obstructions. The regenerative braking system consists of 11.75 inch vented inboard discs and four-piston calipers.

2019 Bollinger B1 Drivetrain High Resolution
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PERFORMANCE

While the Bollinger B1 sports serious off-roading credentials, the vehicle also has impressive performance statistics generating 360 horsepower and a massive 472 lb-ft of torque. And with the instant torque provided courtesy of the electric drivetrain, the B1 has a noteworthy 0-60 time of just 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 127 miles per hour. The B1 weighs in at just 3,900 lbs giving it a 10.8 power to weight ratio. With a payload capacity of 6,100 lbs, the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) checks in at just over 10,001 lbs.

"The B1 combines Bollinger Motors’ advanced all-wheel-drive system with our all-electric powertrain to produce best-in-class horsepower, torque and ground clearance," said CJ Winegar, Bollinger Motors engineer. “This vehicle signifies a huge leap above what is currently on the market. There’s nothing like it out there.”

The B1 employs a dual-motor powertrain configuration using front- and rear- mounted synchronous electric motors driving all four wheels, delivering up to 270 kW (360 hp) power. The production B1 will offer two lithium ion battery pack options: 60 kWh or 100 kWh, producing either 120 miles or 200 miles in range.

“At either a 120 or 200 mile estimated range, the Bollinger B1 will have more range than most electric vehicles on the road today," said John Hutchison, Bollinger Motors engineer. “The average US driver travels less than 36 miles per day, so the B1 has plenty of charge for anything you throw at it. I think we found the right combination of utility, off-road capability and range options.”

The B1 has a J1772 universal connector for conventional 110V and 220V charging while Level 3 “DC Fast” charging is completed through a CHAdeMO protocol charge port on the vehicle’s fender. The battery pack compartments are encased in four layers of protection between metal casings and water tight seals which are engineered to withstand submersion under 3.3ft of water for 30 minutes, which is the industry standard for EVs.

2019 Bollinger B1 Interior High Resolution
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INTERIOR

The Gunhouse Grey color and black accents are carried through to the interior with black leather seats. As this is a vehicle designed with the rugged outdoorsman in mind, the Bollinger SUT seats up to four occupants wrapped in a steel passenger safety cage. For ease of cleanup the interior can be fully hosed down as all of the instruments have rubber seals and gaskets and polyurethane-coated floor pans.

The interior is minimalist by design providing only the necessary controls to operate the vehicle both on and off road. The vehicle’s generous use of aluminum continues into the occupant cabin and is featured along the instrument panel (IP). The IP has four prominent circular gauges including a digital readout for ready status, range updates, charging status and all FMVSS warning signals. A mechanical speedometer is employed with an odometer inset; a battery level indicator; turn signals; and there’s also a unique mechanical tachometer which displays the average of the two motor’s revolutions per minute. All of the gauges have chrome bezels, black backgrounds and white numbering and lettering giving the IP a clean and classic look.

The steering column is a traditional 3-spoke, leather-wrapped wheel with stalks on the left side of the column for the turning indicator and tilt wheel. On the right side of the column the driver has a “three on the tree” style PRNDL which controls the vehicle’s gear shift positions.

On the lower left side of the dash there are controls for lights, windshield wipers, air suspension and the built-in winch. On the lower right side, there are controls for front differential lock, rear differential lock, fan speed and climate control.

The HVAC system employs an industry first 3-section roller system which sits atop the dashboard and runs the length of the interior from the driver to passenger side of the vehicle. Occupants can choose to open and close the vents and they also have the ability to turn the roller toward or away from them for varying degrees of air flow. This also allows for a quick and direct manual defrosting or defogging of the front windscreen when necessary.

2019 Bollinger B1 Exterior
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The center section of the dash also incorporates a unique 13 inch by 14 inch passthrough door. The compartment allows for easy access into the frunk and can accommodate up to 24 2X4 boards for either professional contractors or the do-it-yourselfer working on a weekend project. With unobstructed space between the closed front and rear liftgates, 12 foot boards can be fully stored within the enclosed truck. When the rear liftgate is down, boards up to 16 feet can easily be transported.

Above the passthrough sits a gauge-style, marine radio stereo receiver. The in-dash waterproof receiver has Bluetooth capability with AM/FM Radio, AUX Input for iPod/MP3 Players and SD/USB Flash Readers. Sound from the unit is directed to four speakers inside the cabin. To the right side of the passthrough are twin 110 volt power outlets which allow occupants the ability to hook up their electronic devices, camping equipment, power tools or whatever the adventure calls for.

"Since the B1 is an all-electric truck, it’s really a portable energy source," Says Bollinger. "So we put 100 volt plugs throughout the truck so you can use it to power any equipment and tools you might need out in the field. USB and 12 volt plugs are also integrated into the dash to cover all power needs."

“The interior follows the strong and straight-line design of the exterior using simplicity and straight-forwardness as the main design language,” said Ross Compton, who assisted Bollinger with the design of the B1. “We also wanted to give the vehicle a feel of openness and spaciousness so you can use the vehicle in a variety of different ways.”

2019 Bollinger B1 Exterior
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MANUFACTURING AND RETAIL

Bollinger Motors has a design, engineering and development center in Hobart, New York and the company is in talks with third-party independent vehicle manufacturers in the US who are conducting feasibility studies and financial estimates. Using an established manufacturer brings with it an inherent knowledge of the build process and also helps to control and mitigate costs. Bollinger is also engaged with the state of New York and reviewing options for potential future build facilities.

"While we’ll be announcing pricing and manufacturing targets later this year, the business case for the B1 makes sense at a very realistic and modest production number and at a price point of a nicely equipped sport utility vehicle," said Bollinger. "When you factor in this vehicle’s superiority over the other choices on today’s market, we think we have a winning combination."

Once manufacturing is finalized, B1 deliveries are targeted to start within 19 months. Initially a direct-to-consumer sales model will be employed for the B1 and , in the future, Bollinger will also look to open company and retail stores in major cities across the US. For now, the B1 will be available through bollingermotors.com and interested individuals can reserve a spot simply by signing up online with no money down. In early 2018 reservation holders will be able to order their B1 with a $1,000 down payment.

BOLLINGER B1 SPECIFICATIONS

  • Passengers 4
  • Seat Material and Color Black Leather
  • Drive AWD
  • 0-60 (sec) 4.5
  • Top Speed (mph) 127
  • Horsepower 360
  • Torque (lb-ft) 472
  • Total Vehicle Weight (lbs) 3,900
  • Chassis Weight (lbs) 295
  • Power / Weight Ratio 10.8
  • Energy Storage (kWh) 60 or 100
  • Range (mi) 120 or 200
  • Motor Dual Front/ Rear
  • MPGe (est) 67.4
  • Wheelbase (in) 105
  • Length (in) 150
  • Width (in) 76.5
  • Height (in) 73.5
  • Rear Track 68
  • Ground Clearance (in) Adjustable between 10 - 20
  • Approach/ Breakover / Departure 56/33/53
  • Payload Capacity (lbs) 6,100
  • Total Cargo Capacity w rear seats removed including the frunk and passthrough area (cu ft) 95
  • Storage Capacity Frunk (cu ft) 14
  • Towing Capacity (lbs) 6,100
  • How many sticks of 2x4s can fit through the passthrough 24
  • Length from front to rear liftgates with liftgates closed (ft) 12
  • Length from front to rear liftgates with liftgates open (ft) 15’ 4"
  • Number of 1/2" sheets of 4x8 drywall stacked bottom to top on the rear cargo area 72
  • Wheel Size Front/Rear LT285/70/R17
  • Wheel Color Black Satin
  • GVWR (lbs) 10,001
  • Charging Ports J1772 (110 & 220) & CHAdeMO (DC Fast)
  • Brakes 11.75 inch vented; regenerative; 4-wheel anti-lock inboard discs
  • Width/ height of the pass-thru (in) 13" wide x 14" high
  • Charge Time 60 kWh (From fully depleted) Level 2 (220v): 7.3 hours / DC Fast: 45 min
  • Charge Time 100kWh (From fully depleted) Level 2 (220v): 12.1 hours / DC Fast: 75 min
  • Weight Balance 50/50
  • Skid Plate Thickness 1/4 inch ribbed aluminum
  • Exterior Color Gunhouse Grey with Black Accents
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