Bollinger Shelves B1 and B2 Heavy-Duty EVs to Focus on Commercial Trucks

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The imposing battery-powered Bollinger B2 pickup truck won’t be seen on the road anytime soon.

The Oak Park-based startup announced on Friday that it was canceling consumer orders for its innovative, off-road-capable B2 pickup and B1 SUV to focus on its thriving commercial truck business.

The $125,000 B1 and B2 were part of a squadron of epic super-trucks – including offerings from Rivian, GMC, Chevy, Ford, Tesla and Lordstown Motors – released following Tesla’s success in as a manufacturer of luxury electric vehicles. The $74,000 Rivian R1T Pickup Launch Edition began customer deliveries in late 2021, as did the $113,000 Hummer EV Edition 1, but Bollinger’s announcement is an indication that demand for Electric truck volume is in the commercial sector, not retail, where lofty prices are only accessible to the few.

“We have been developing commercially for some time. It just kept growing,” CEO Robert Bollinger said in an interview. “We’ve had large fleets watching (our battery-powered platform). We just read the writing on the wall. Most of our employees are on the commercial side, so I made the decision to defund B1 and B2.

Bollinger is scrapping plans to build an off-road pickup and sell its EV platform for heavy-duty applications.  Note on rear twin wheels.

The decision wasn’t easy for the entrepreneur, who started Bollinger Motors on his New York farm in 2015 with a passion for building an eco-friendly EV pickup with unique performance features. . The boxy B2 was born.

Unveiled at a glitzy Times Square event in 2017, it featured impressive numbers like 614 horsepower and 668 pound-feet of torque, acceleration from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, a payload capacity of 5,000 pounds and a suspension that offered 10 to 20 inches of variable ground clearance. The truck’s signature attributes were removable Jeep Wrangler-like body panels and a unique hollowed-out interior that could swallow objects up to 16 feet long by dropping the vehicle’s tailgate, midgate, and front gate.

“It was about time we did something new,” Bollinger said at the time. “I just wanted to build the best truck without compromise.”

Bollinger moved the company to the Detroit metro area to take advantage of the region’s engineering and manufacturing talent. The company presented pre-production prototypes of a B1 SUV model to be built by hand alongside the B2 truck in late 2019. Initial production of the $125,000 vehicles sold out with a reservation list of 30,000.

The Bolinger B2 pickup is equipped with front and rear hatches, allowing you to fit through longboards.

The B2 turned heads at last fall’s Motor Bella show in Pontiac. Bollinger Motors will refund deposits for those who had reserved the B1 and B2 models.

A passionate environmentalist who self-funded Bollinger Motors with a personal fortune gained by selling his cosmetics marketing company in New York, Bollinger sees commercial truck management as the best way to pursue his green goals.

“It’s clearly the right decision even though it’s hard for me to put aside my love” for mics, he said. “I’ve replaced that for now with the incredible impact you can have on commercial fleets. The amount of CO2 we can extract from the air and particulate matter is incredible.

Bollinger Motors CEO Robert Bollinger has self-funded his electric vehicle startup, which is moving from consumer to commercial production.

Bollinger says “renovators” (companies that outfit vehicle platforms for commercial applications) and fleet buyers will use its raw skateboard battery platform for a variety of uses quite different from its aspirations. original. The rear-wheel-drive platform can be adapted to different wheelbases and battery sizes for use with heavy-duty vehicles, tow trucks, small garbage trucks and municipal buses.

He sees Bollinger’s opportunity in Class 3 through 6 medium-duty trucks — capable of a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 to 26,000 pounds. This is different from competitive platforms like the Rivian, Ford F-150 Lightning, Chevy Silverado and Lordstown Endurance EV platforms which target Class 2 GVWR (6,000-10,000 lb) pickup applications like pickup trucks. Amazon delivery – or Class 1 vehicles (0-6,000 lbs GVWR) like the Ford E-Transit and GM BrightDrop electric vans.

Government and corporate ESG (environmental and social) policies are driving fleet purchases as well as the promise of government subsidies for charging infrastructure. Electric trucks lag gasoline trucks in towing range, but Bollinger views most fleet applications as limited, low-mileage routes. Bollinger manufactures its own batteries and will supply rigs with capacities of 70 kWh, 140 kWh and 220 kWh. By comparison, the Tesla Model 3, the most popular electric vehicle on the US market with a range of 320 miles, sports an 82 kWh battery.

“(Commercial electric vehicle fleets) are where it all goes when it comes to state regulations,” Bollinger said. “Maybe the federal government too. All the expectations on the business side are really going to be driving the volume of vehicles going electric. »

While sexy sedans like Teslas, Mercedes EQS and Lucid Air are turning heads, auto startups and traditional automakers are seeing gold in commercial trucks.

GM has also wowed with retail super trucks over $100,000, but it’s the fleet-focused Silverado EV work truck that will hit the market for the first time in early 2023. The F-150 Ford’s Lightning EV is also teasing wealthy early adopters with $90,000 Lightning Platinum models, but its base $40,000 Pro version is aimed at commercial fleets.

Startup Lordstown Motors had ambitious plans to produce thousands of commercial trucks based on its Endurance pickup platform. Delayed by financial problems, the Endurance should be released this spring under a production contract with Foxconn.

Bollinger Motors Inc. plans to sell Class 3-6 electric commercial trucks.

Bollinger, too, will soon announce a production partner for its Class 3-6 platform. It won’t provide charging infrastructure – a big challenge that commercial customers are just getting to grips with.

“There are a lot of capital companies that are offering the capital for these companies to transition” to electric fleets, CEO Bollinger said. “You need to change a depot that, for example, has 100 trucks and you need 100 loaders. And they all have to be fast chargers and your whole building needs a fresh amount of power from the utilities. It’s a big package.

Bollinger regretted having to cancel orders for his beloved B1 and B2 off-road beasts, but hopes to return to them one day.

The B2 CHASS-E Cab Pickup - a two- or four-door cab on which customers can build their own payload trunk.  Like this tow truck.

“We wouldn’t be here without our custodians,” he said. “We can’t thank them enough and hope they continue to follow our progress, even if it’s not something they can buy for themselves right now.”

Henry Payne is an auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at [email protected] or Twitter @HenryEPayne.

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