Electric trucks and off-roaders are about to storm the new car market. Last year, Tesla debuted its avant-garde Cybertruck; Rivian is set to start producing its R1T and R1S in the later months of 2020; GMC will soon revive the Hummer as an electric super-truck; and Ford will forge ahead with an electric F-150.
A little while ago, we spoke to company founder and CEO Robert Bollinger about what you can expect when his rigs hit the road. But in case you need a quick refresher course, here’s what you can expect.
Bollinger trucks look boxy and distinctive
Other manufacturers target a market and build a vehicle toward it. Robert Bollinger, however, is building the truck he — and hopefully, enough other people — want. The B1 and B2 are stripped-down, boxy off-roaders — and they take “boxy” quite literally. The B1 and B2 bear a strong resemblance to a classic Land Rover Defender, even more than the new version does. Bollinger believes the appearance will give the brand a unique appeal.
“Even though it harkens back to classic design, we’re bringing that back knowing that no one else will probably do that,” Bollinger said. “We are comfortable being the opposite of what other people are doing, and that’s kind of our thing.”
Designing a truck that’s so boxy was also a product of the hand-building process. “We wanted to make it ourselves by hand and not stamp pieces,” Bollinger said. “So, once you have flat sheets that you’re bending, you’re in that camp. It limits you, but in a good way, I think.”
Besides the inveterate boxiness, other notable features for the B1 and B2 include a glass roof and an FJ Cruiser-esque third windshield wiper.
These trucks will be badass off-roaders
They may look old-school, but the B1 and B2 will be absolute performance beasts. The trucks’ dual-motor system produces 614 horsepower and 668 lb-ft of instant-on torque. The B1 and B2 will accelerate to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and have a range of 200 miles.
Want capability? The B1 and B2 can tow up to 7,500 pounds and accommodate a 5,201-pound payload. The trucks have better approach, break over and departure angles than a Jeep Wrangler.
Bollingers will be expensive
Bollinger revealed the pricing for the B1 and B2 last October; they’re going to be expensive, starting at $125,000. That’s more than $50,000 more than the base versions of the Rivian R1T and R1S will cost.
Indeed, it may be better to think of Bollinger as a limited-run high-end vehicle. It’s not competing with Rivian or Tesla so much as providing an electric option for the person who might otherwise spend six figures on a stunning resto-modded Defender.
You’ll have to wait a long time for a two-door
Bollinger’s first B1 prototype reveal was a two-door version. We all loved it because it looked like a classic off-roader, but don’t expect it to arrive anytime soon; the two-door was too small to accommodate the battery packs needed for decent range. Until battery tech improves or there’s enough demand for a low-range runabout, Bollinger will stick with four doors. Fortunately, as the Jeep Wrangler proved, that’s what most buyers really want, anyway.
“It worked out perfectly,” Bollinger said. “We didn’t have to give up something. This is probably what people are going to choose anyway, and we need the space. So, this is a great way to start.”
The B1 and B2 won’t be family vehicles
The B1 and B2 are classified as Class 3 trucks, like the Ford F-350 or the Ram 3500. That classification means Bollinger did not have to include airbags. That shouldn’t bother the vintage Defender buyer, though it may limit Bollinger’s penetration of the family hauler market.
When asked about the lack of airbags, Bollinger was unapologetic. “If someone really, really wants airbags,” Bollinger said. “They don’t need to buy our truck.”
Bollinger trucks also have a pass-through cargo tunnel spanning the length of the vehicle. Having that tunnel sacrifices a middle seat in the second row, so the B1 and B2 won’t be able to accommodate a fifth passenger.
Bollinger Motors plans to begin production in 2021 — at least, that’s the plan
Bollinger plans to begin B1 and B2 production and deliveries in 2021. “It all works out on Excel and calendars,” Bollinger said. “We just have to stick to it.”
Though that timeline — along with just about every other one in the automotive industry — is likely up in the air at present.
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