Electro Retro: Bollinger Motors Shows Its Super-Boxy All-Electric SUV ""

By | July 31, 2017

Bollinger B1_mtns

Anyone who ever played with Tonka trucks and radio-controlled off-road toys, or really wanted a Mercedes-Benz G-class, a Land Rover Defender, or an International Scout—which, it seems, could include nearly every American—might find something oddly compelling about the Bollinger Motors B1.

Although Bollinger will have to clear many hurdles before it can bring this all-electric SUV to market, it’s refreshingly different from the luxurious Tesla Model X crossover or even the Workhorse W-15, an all-electric pickup that’s also in the works. Put on your camo pants, head off into the woods, and forget about the price of oil, and you just might find the spirit of the Bollinger B1.

“This is the culmination of what has been a 40-year-long boyhood dream of mine,” founder and CEO Robert Bollinger confirmed in a press release. That dream consists of a very rugged, off-roadable, back-to-basics sport-utility truck with an all-electric powertrain.

Bollinger B1_2x4

It’s compact and quite short—attributes that aid maneuverability and add off-road ability—with an approach angle of 56 degrees, a departure angle of 53 degrees, and a break-over angle of 33 degrees. The B1 is just 150 inches long, or about a foot shorter than either the current two-door Jeep Wrangler or the two-door Land Rover Defender that was sold in the United States in the 1990s and some international markets even today. Given the length, the truck’s width of 76.5 inches and height of 73.5 inches help counter the relatively short 105.0-inch wheelbase (about the same as a Toyota FJ Cruiser) and give it that blocky, grounded stance.

Tread Lightly—and Silently

Despite its base ground clearance of 15.5 inches (adjustable from 10 to 20 inches, and with anti-roll bars that can be disconnected), the truck’s center of gravity is low, Bollinger claims, thanks to the packaging: The B1’s battery pack, front and rear motors, and power-management systems are all packed under the floor and between the chassis rails. The B1 utilizes lots of aluminum in its underpinnings, reserving steel for its rollover protection. Bollinger claims to have designed the hydraulic-assist steering in-house, while high-offset aluminum wheels are mounted with mud-terrain tires.

The four-passenger interior is refreshingly simple and retro styled. It was designed with the rugged outdoors adventurer in mind, according to the company, carrying through some of the look of the brash Gunhouse Grey color scheme. The interior design is upright and very mid-20th century in theme, with details including circular gauges, a three-spoke steering wheel, and a column-mounted shifter marked out for PRNDL operation. The interior can be hosed down, and the floor is coated with polyurethane. Like Teslas (and Porsche sports cars and some other mid- or rear-engined sports cars), there’s a “frunk” under what looks like a traditional engine hood, but this one’s big enough for up to 24 two-by-four boards. With a pass-through essentially the full length of the vehicle, you can fit boards up to 12 feet long with the liftgate closed, Bollinger says, which sounds to us like a pretty neat trick for a vehicle that’s 12.5 feet long overall.

Bollinger B1_interior

As is the case for Tesla models, the B1 will be offered in versions differentiated by their battery capacity. A base version with a 60-kWh battery will provide a 120-mile range, and one with a 100-kWh battery shoots for a 200-mile range. Charging rates haven’t been disclosed, but the B1 will have CHAdeMO Level 3 fast charging that should allow an 80 percent charge in roughly an hour. Dual 110-volt AC power outlets are good for power tools or camping equipment, and while Bollinger hasn’t yet confirmed it, you can bet the company is looking into a power takeoff that could truly harness the battery’s capacity for help in natural disasters (or powering that off-the-grid cabin).

Regardless of battery pack, the motors produce 360 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque, making the 3900-pound B1 capable of a 4.5-second zero-to-60-mph time, Bollinger claims—which would be quicker than the 4.8 seconds C/D recorded in our last test of the Mercedes-AMG G63—and a 127-mph top speed.

Bollinger obviously has a lot yet to prove. While it’s relatively easy to present a one-off prototype, it’s much harder to bring a vehicle to any level of volume production. Bollinger confirmed that the B1 will be built in the United States, likely with the assistance of an established third-party manufacturer. With first deliveries targeted for early 2019, the company is looking to open retail outlets—both company-owned and franchised dealers—in major U.S. cities. It’s gathering info from hand-raisers now but won’t start accepting $1000 down payments until early 2018. We see many roles for the B1 to fit in with its quiet capability—for conservationists, hunters, bird-watchers, energy hawks and, well, people who crave an SUV that worships flat panels.

Bollinger-B1-REEL

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