After studying industrial design at Carnegie Mellon University, Robert Bollinger ran and sold a successful organic hair-care products business. Then, while living in the Catskills area of upstate New York, Bollinger, quite literally, switched gears. While scouring the auto market for his ideal truck, he realized the vehicle he had in mind didn’t yet exist, according to MotorTrend.
He wanted a truck with both off-road and heavy-duty capabilities and silent green operation.
That’s when he started looking into building his own Class 3 electric truck and in 2014, Bollinger Motors was born.
The founder of the company quickly got up to speed. While the dates are still tentative, the company is anticipating rolling out its three electric trucks by 2022. There’s the Bollinger B1 SUV, Bollinger B2 truck and the Bollinger B-2 Chase-E Cab. (Though consumers can put down $1,000 now to reserve the B1 or B2 now).
While a number of legacy automakers have also committed to introducing EV trucks, Bollinger has still managed to carve out a specific niche within this subset.
For one, Bollinger’s trucks have neither airbags nor a fifth seat, which puts them in a category of their own.
“They aren’t aiming for the mainstream family market,” Tyler Duffy wrote in a piece for Gear Patrol in 2019. “Think of the B1 and B2 as an electric alternative for the person dropping six figures on a restored Land Rover Defender — albeit an alternative with nearly 700 lb-ft of instant-on torque.”
Bollinger has also succeeded in designing an EV that doesn’t resemble an EV. The B1 looks like an old Ford Bronco, Duffy noted in an other 2019 Gear Patrol piece.
Both the B1 and the B2 rely on a 142 kWh battery pack, which delivers about 200 miles of range. They provide 614 horsepower and 668 lb-ft of torque in an all-wheel-drive configuration.
The hydropneumatic suspension gives the trucks their off-road capabilities and the max payload is over two tonnes. From front to back, the B2 can carry “exceptionally long objects,” according to Top Gear.
The B1 and B2 trucks have other eye-catching features. The four roof panels pop up to vent, the side windows open by sliding sideways, and the doors can be removed, according to Motor Trend.
The structure and the body are made of aluminum, but the independent suspension components are mostly steel.
“Even though it harkens back to classic design, we’re bringing that back knowing that no one else will probably do that,” Bollinger told Gear Patrol. “We are comfortable being the opposite of what other people are doing and that’s kind of our thing.”
The Bollinger trucks are also expensive, and it’s understandable why.
The Chassis starts at $70,000, while the B1 and B2 go for $125,000. The B1 and B2 are about $20,000 more than the Tesla’s Model X’s upper-level Performance trim.
Bollinger is hand-assembling its trucks in Detroit, Michigan. But the crux of the expense lies in its massive battery.
“Bollinger Motors has realized that their market will be a subset of drivers with specific interests: A cool, beast of a truck that’s also eco-friendly,” said Michele Pierog, CSO of ParkMyFleet, a mobility company. “Drivers are evolving differently as advances and innovations create realities where they can have it all or exactly the pieces they choose from the EV revolution.”