Bollinger Motor’s B1 Electric Sport Utility Truck
An entrepreneur's solution for the high-tech vehicle he couldn't find
by Sue Mead
The global reveal of Bollinger Motors' B1 sport utility truck (SUT) at the Classic Car Club of Manhattan wasn't simply an opportunity to showcase the world’s first all-electric SUT, but also the culmination of a childhood dream of Bollinger Motors' founder Robert Bollinger. The clean-cut entrepreneur, who just turned 50, described the “emotional journey” as he detailed the inspiration for the innovative prototype that was created in 22 months from a clean sheet of paper. Bollinger was inspired to create the vehicle thanks to, “shitty vehicles that broke down" on his own farm in the bucolic Catskill mountains of upstate New York.
The four-seat sport utility truck can quickly morph to a two-seat enclosed cab with a pickup bed, is painted “Gunhouse Gray"—named for the road where the development work was completed. With black accents and a black satin wheel finish outside, and a “B” logo front and rear, the truck's interior trim harmonizes the exterior palette.
Bollinger himself is fascinating, with a pedigree and presentation that is an amalgam of Silicon Valley and Woodstock, NY. Following graduation from Carnegie Mellon with an Industrial Design degree, the automotive CEO spent a few years working for top ad agencies in NYC. In 2006, he joined a friend in an organic hair and skincare company. After selling the successful business, he moved to Hobart, NY, and co-started a grass-fed cattle farm. When he couldn’t find a truck that could handle farm duties and double as a fun off-roader, he went back to his 40-year-long boyhood dream and created the rugged, heavy-duty SUT—designed with a classic and Teutonic three-box look that marries styling features and capabilities that are reminiscent of stalwart models like the Land Rover Defender, Hummer and International Scout vehicles, in particular. However, the B1 modernizes the heavy-duty truck design and mechanicals "with an all-electric powertrain that produces best-in-class horsepower, torque and ground clearance," says 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 “class of one” model has a dual-motor configuration that uses front-and rear-mounted synchronous electric motors to power all four wheels, delivering up to 270 kW (360 hp) and full-time all-wheel drive, plus a 50/50 weight distribution. The production version will offer two lithium ion battery pack options: 60 kWh or 100 kWh, producing either 120 miles or 200 miles in range, which is close to Tesla's Model 3 that claims a 220-mile range.
While technical off-roading credentials are significant to its mission, it also has impressive performance statistics with a massive 472 lb-ft of torque. The electric powertrain’s instantaneous torque-on-tap allows it to sprint from 0-60 in 4.5 seconds, to a top speed of 127 mph. Tipping the scales at 3,900 lbs, with a payload capacity of 6,100 lbs, the B1’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) checks in at just over 10,001 lbs. That extra “1 lb” makes it a Class III vehicle that can eschew airbags; enhanced safety comes from the high-strength, low-alloy steel rollover structure that underpins the all-aluminum body.
The B1 rides on a 105-in. wheelbase, with a front and rear track of 68 inches. Off road chops come from impressive approach, departure and break over angles; a self-leveling, four-wheel independent, hydro-pneumatic suspension allowing for 10 inches of wheel travel and 15.5 inches of running ground clearance; and dis-connectable anti-roll bars among numerous other technical features.
The waterproof interior uses an industry-first innovative HVAC system and has a unique passthrough door in the center console that provides easy access into the “frunk” (front storage available in the engine-bay compartment); its dimensions allow the stowage of 24 2x4 boards, with unobstructed space between the closed front and rear lift gates. 12-foot boards can be stored within the enclosed truck. Although Spartan in design, the SUT's communications and navigation features include a marine radio stereo receiver with Bluetooth and AM/FM Radio, AUX Input for iPod/MP3 Players and SD/USB Flash Readers; four speakers for sound projection and portable energy with twin 110-volt power outlets, USB and 12-volt plugs.
Bollinger's began his latest endeavor in Hobart, NY in 2014 in a renovated car repair shop, with a goal of creating a new standard for trucks. And, laying eyes on his prototype makes you believe that Bollinger might just sell the first 15,000 SUTs it’s rumored he plans to build. Estimated price is $60,000. Visit Bollinger Motors for more information.
Images courtesy of Bollinger Motors