If you’re a dead set 4X4 enthusiast, sign-up for our FREE eMag here > The Magazine
What you see here, the just revealed Bollinger B1 all-wheel drive off-road sport utility vehicle, is the future of off-roading and isn’t it remarkable how closely it resembles the past, right down to its riveted body panels, flat sides and straight bumpers.
Developed by New York based Bollinger Motors, it’s thought to be the world’s first all-electric all-wheel drive off-road ‘sport utility truck’, which is a naff description but an awesome bit of work on the part of Bollinger.
“We are so thrilled to be able to finally take the wraps off of our Bollinger B1 SUT,” said Bollinger Motors’ founder and CEO, Robert Bollinger. “This is the culmination of what has been a 40-year-long boyhood dream of mine and I couldn’t be more pleased with the vehicle and the incredible team who worked so hard to create it.”
The B1 is an off-roader’s dream rig. It’s Land Rover Series 1 simple, likely to be 99.9% reliable and it sports portal axles (yum), an aluminium chassis, a 50:50 weight distribution, along with a 56-degree approach angle and 53-degree departure angle.
The base ride height provides a serious 394mm of ground clearance and it’s adjustable via a self- leveling, 4-wheel independent, hydro-pneumatic suspension system that allows 254mm (10 inches) of wheel travel. Disconnectable anti-roll bars allow full suspension articulation when off-road.
Power is supplied via either a 60 or 100kWh battery pack that is said to provide a 190 or 320 km range, with 7 hours to re-charge from a fully depleted state, or 45 minutes with a fast charger. There’s around 270kW of power and a whopping 639Nm on tap, allowing the little square-rigger to rip along at up to 204km/h, if that’s your thing.
“At either a 120 or 200 mile estimated range, the Bollinger B1 will have more range than most electric vehicles on the road today,” said John Hutchison, Bollinger Motors engineer. “The average US driver travels less than 36 miles per day, so the B1 has plenty of charge for anything you throw at it. I think we found the right combination of utility, off-road capability and range options.”
Bollinger reckon it’s a handy little hardware hauler as well, an attribute it gains by having a flat floor that runs from the very front to the rear of the B1 and a pass-through door up the front (where the combustion engine would normally be) that allows access to the full length of that floor. It’s practical box type layout, allows it to carry wide items, such as 4×8 sheets of plywood, relatively easily.
“Because the entire drivetrain and battery storage system is located between the chassis rails, the B1 has abundant and unique storage areas and a very low center of gravity providing for unsurpassed stability,” said Karl Hacken, Bollinger Motors’ lead engineer. “The hydraulically-assisted steering rack was designed in-house allowing us the ability to fine tune the driving dynamics to our exact specifications.”
Bollinger is currently in talks with third-party independent vehicle manufacturers in the US, with a view to having the B1 manufactured in a cost effective manner, that doesn’t compromise on quality. Once manufacturing is finalized, B1 deliveries are targeted to start within 19 months.
Bollinger’s press release doesn’t confirm if the B1 is street legal in the US.
“While we’ll be announcing pricing and manufacturing targets later this year, the business case for the B1 makes sense at a very realistic and modest production number and at a price point of a nicely equipped sport utility vehicle,” said Bollinger. “When you factor in this vehicle’s superiority over the other choices on today’s market, we think we have a winning combination.”
There is no-doubt that the time is coming when we will no longer be able to buy diesel 4X4s – and we are going to miss them – but vehicles like the B1 are going to make for an exciting, if oddly quiet, transition.