When we last heard from Bollinger Motors, it was back in 2017 when they unveiled an early stage prototype of the B1 SUV. Back then, the company was based in New York, and the crude prototype served as a glimpse into the rugged EV that CEO Robert Bollinger and his fledgling company wanted to unleash to the masses. Several years of work later, the company has moved to a bigger building in Ferndale, Michigan and has unveiled the next step of its march to production, with the unveiling of the production spec B1 SUV and the all new B2 EV pickup.
While Bollinger labeled these vehicles as late stage prototypes, they are actually very close to what customers can expect to see when they eventually emerge into the market in their full production form, as well as a glimpse into the company’s series based model strategy. The B1 is an SUV while the B2 is a pickup, but both build on the original formula that was first shown by the early B1 prototype, with the styling being a retro focused presentation. Both models embrace their squarish proportions with pride, and the angular motif does remind us of the early Land Rover Defender, with the duo using aluminum body panels much like how Land Rover did when it first introduced its early models. While this simple look is a stark contrast to the futuristic and decidedly more complex lines that define current EVs, this simplicity should help them be relatively easy to build, which in turn will help Bollinger cut costs in terms of production. It doesn’t hurt either that both of them have a high degree of rigged swagger, and that should help them win over the hearts of EV buyers, especially those looking to use them in the great outdoors.
The exterior of both models also comes packed with several cleverly engineered details, with Bollinger reps eagerly highlighting the clever center pass through that starts from the front trunk, works its way through the center of the vehicle, and goes all the way to the back cargo area. In the case of the B2, it gains a foldable mid-gate which is reminiscent of the setup in the long departed Chevrolet Avalanche, and it works nicely with the existing pass through. Look for this passage to be a key tool for people that carry extremely long loads including lumber, as well as big fishing poles. Both models also offer a generous amount of 12-volt power outlets, with four of them being grouped together in the rear cargo area. After we shot our main video, Bollinger reps chose to reveal that seven more lurk elsewhere in the cabin, and even dared us to try and find them all. We took the challenge…. and failed, but look for these outlets to appeal to those that need to use power tools in an area where electricity is not accessible, or charge mobile devices and power portable tailgate parties in the urban jungle.
The interior of the B1 and B2 also reflects this rugged simplicity, with a flat dashboard that houses round chrome rimmed analog gauges. An infotainment system is nowhere to be seen, but the rest of the dashboard retains the minimalist theme with strategically placed air vents, and a three spoke steering wheel that helps add a dash of sport to the proceedings. Notably, the wheel does not come equipped with an airbag, and Bollinger did not reveal how it intends to pass rigorous U.S. safety tests, but we suspect that the airbags could eventually be added in once both models enter production. No power windows are here either, with occupants having to either slide them open or shut manually. Many controls are also operated by easy to use toggle switches and knobs versus formal buttons, which makes the experience distinctly analog when you have a chance to slip behind the wheel, and sit in their comfortable cloth/leather seats.
As far as performance is concerned, Bollinger is not pulling any punches, with both models coming equipped with a dual motor powertrain that generates 614 horsepower and 688 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough for a 4.5 second 0 to 60 time, a 100 mph top speed, and a 7,500 towing capability. It’s already known that the motors draw power from a 120-kWh lithium ion battery pack, but even at this stage in development, Bollinger is not keen on revealing the final drive range for both the B1 and B2. It’s important to note however that this pack is even bigger than the biggest battery pack Tesla offers, with that unit being able to store up to 100-kWh of juice. A two speed gearbox with high and low ranges helps send power to all four wheels, while an adjustable suspension allows the driver to generate between 10 to 20 inches of extra ground clearance. While these features do there best to make the B1 and B2 no-nonsense off-roaders, Bollinger has vowed to make them 100% street legal for all motorists to enjoy.
Pricing and availability has not been announced as of yet, but Bollinger representatives did reveal that the B1 and B2 have already drawn interest from several world governments for military service, though they stopped short from telling us which countries are indeed analyzing them for this purpose. More details are expected to emerge soon (possibly as early as the 2019 L.A. Auto Show later this year), but when the B1 and B2 eventually arrive, they will be competing against Rivian’s R1S and R1T for a slice of the EV off-roader sales pie. The B2 in particular will also have to stand out from the electrified Ford F-150, which is also currently under development. While the prototypes Bollinger unveiled represent a key step in terms of progress, we are still waiting to see if the company can indeed succeed in selling and profiting long term from its lineup of retro focused EV vehicles. But if Robert Bollinger has his way, his young company could indeed become a potent disruptor in this untapped frontier. In the meantime, we have included our video from the event below, as well as a replay of the unveiling itself here.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.