• 2019 Bollinger B1

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

LISTEN 10:34

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.

  • 2019 Bollinger B1
  • Year:
    2019
  • Make:
    Bollinger
  • Model:
    B1
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    7.8/10

The Layout

2019 Bollinger B1 Exterior
- image 725125
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
- image 725135
2019 Bollinger B1 Exterior
- image 725134

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
- image 725138
2019 Bollinger B1 Exterior
- image 725139

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
- image 725124
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 High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 725130
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 High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 725131
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
- image 725127

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
- image 725122

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
Mark McNabb
Mark McNabb was a contributor at TopSpeed from 2013 to 2018. Growing up, Mark always had a mind for tinkering on random items throughout his home and dad’s garage, including a 1953 Ford Mainline and 1971 Corvette Stingray.  Read full bio
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