Electric cars were first marketed towards environmentally conscious suburban families as a safe family vehicle - think the Toyota Prius. Tesla made them sexy and now Bollinger Motors are making them tough. The car company has just released the world's first all-electric sports utility truck, and it looks great.
The truck dubbed the B1 is all-electric but has all the features you want in a rugged all-terrain vehicle. While electric vehicles have plenty of torque - an essential requirement for hauling heavy loads. The downfall of electric vehicles is the weight. Battery cells are heavy which adds not only to the weight the truck needs to haul around, it also poses a design problem as to where to place the batteries inside the car. Too much weight at the front or back will seriously hinder the car's ability to tackle rough ground. The Bollinger designers overcame this by sitting the B1’s batteries into the car's aluminum chassis. Using aluminum means the bulk of the car is lighter allowing the heavier batteries to pose no problem.
The unique design of the chassis ensures it is still strong enough to support the car and its off-road adventures. The truck comes with two battery options, a 60 kWh system with 190 kilometers of range, and a 100kW system with 320 kilometers of range.
The truck was reportedly born out of company founder Robert Bollinger's disappointment in the quality of the trucks he was driving on his cattle farm. So he went ahead and solved his own problem by hiring a team of engineers and putting his design degree from Carnegie Mellon to work. One thing Bollinger wanted was a truck that people could customize themselves to suit whatever needs they had. So the first thing you notice about the B1 is its exposed hinges, rivets and bolts. This helps new owners add or take off whatever they don’t want.
Bollinger also wanted a truck that would operate as both a working vehicle and an SUV. All you need to do is remove the back seats of the truck and the rear section of the roof and install a wall between the bed and the cab. Or put the seats back in to take the whole family to town. The bed of the truck is big enough to fit a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood. But there is extra room under the hood and a full-length passage running down the middle of the vehicle where you could place 3.5 meter long lengths of material.
The B1 can reportedly get to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds. That is a really quick truck. As well as being quick, it has been designed to tow 2.5 tons and has a gross vehicle weight rating of 4500 kg. These specs mean it falls into a Class 3 truck rating. By avoiding a passenger car rating the truck doesn’t have to meet expensive domestic vehicle safety ratings. The final price hasn’t been confirmed yet but getting your hands on this tough as nails all-electric truck will set you back about $60,000 or $80,000 USD. At this price, it might be difficult to get a foot in the EV market but we’ll be watching Bollinger and his truck as things develop.