Bollinger B2 electric pickup news, tech and specs

  • Bollinger B1 and B2 look like old-school military 4x4s
  • Underneath, there's some genuinely clever thinking
  • Status symbol, or purely functional?

Across the world, well-heeled celebrities have inspired manufacturers to bring military concepts to the road, and the Bollinger B2 electric pickup is the latest to join the flock on Instagram and YouTube - but with no brand equity to trade on, how's it got their attention?

You'd be forgiven for thinking the G in G-Wagen means 'gangsta', and who can forget the Lamborghini LM002 or Hummer H1? Nearly all of these things owe their origins to the Land Rover and more importantly, the civilised Range Rover - but we're entering a new era of alternative fuels, where being seen in a leather-trimmed Humvee is deeply uncool.

A military Jeep that's never seen service?

Bollinger thinks it has the answer. Looking like it was built out of Lego, the B2 is an electric pickup that rather than merely converting existing ideas into a battery-and-motor form, takes all the advantages of ditching the engine to create something a little more innovative - in spite of its rather unimaginative appearance.

2020 Bollinger B1 120kWh electric SUV

The Bollinger resembles the crudest possible interpretation of a classic 4x4: long nose, big wheels, and a detachable top.

Though all current prototypes have a full frame around the cab, with removable flat glass panels that can be replaced with a hard top or canvas, Safari-type open-sided minibuses are also shown.

Bollinger B2 windscreen vents - not machine guns, honest

This provides some clue as to the potential target use for the Bollinger; although the range is still limited, as a vehicle for wildlife tours the B2's near-silent, pollution free powertrain is a real bonus. The fact that the windscreen demisters resemble the drilled barrel shroud of a high-power rifle hints perhaps, at a less environmentally friendly market.

Four-wheel drive EVs: the future?

With a 120kWh battery, this 4x4 should have a range over 200 miles despite taking a novel approach to transmission and tech that is far more thorough than any existing pickup.

Traditional dials for Bollinger B2 pickup

There are no touch-screens here, either - real analogue dials and knurled switches and knobs dominate the dashboard, which also lacks airbags.

The Bollinger meets American safety standards with seatbelts alone.

Bollinger B2 - what's so clever?

Underneath the Bollinger lies the typical EV battery configuration of a flat, sandwich floor, except here it's heavily reinforced around a very traditional ladder-frame chassis structure, and suspended on all four courners with an indepedent oleopneumatic suspension system that uses some similar principles to older Citroen and Mercedes self-levelling tech with greater sophistication.

Bollinger SUV front end

There's an integrated dual-range transaxle and motor at each end, with inboard discs, and portal hubs like a Unimog that raise the driveshaft by 4 inches relative to the centre of the wheel. It also improves the effective force of those inboard discs.

Moving the entirety of engine, transmission and 'fuel' effectively to within the chassis, the floor is completely flat from front to back, and the ground clearance - normally 15 inches - can be raised or lowered by five inches. Prototypes suggest that the driver would even have control of the height at each side or corner, allowing the B2 to remain level while driving on a sloped surface.

Built to carry almost anything

As with those older hydropneumatic cars, the suspension also allows heavy loads (up to 2,200kg payload) to be carried without suspension drop; it also allows for easy towing by lowering the tow hook before attachment. As you'd expect of an American pickup, towing is a big feature, and it's rated for over 3,000kg.

Bollinger B2 through-load

Completely flat above and below, the clever chassis design allows a unique trick - forget 'front boots' typical EVs can offer, the B2 has a through-load feature that allows it to carry 16-foot long beams or poles, the load carrying through the opening rear bulkhead all the way to the front of the car.

There's no grille in the centre - just cooling grilles around the lights to feed radiators mounted above the front wheels - and that solid panel flips down to reveal a loadspace that carries on under the dash and into the cabin.

Bollinger B1 front through loading

Not only does the aluminium, straight-edge construction make low-volume, handbuilt production relatively straightforward, it gives the Bollinger the flexibility to carry a very lightweight body on top if required. There's no need for mechanical controls to poke through the floor, either - everything can be electronic, though the low-range shift does appear to be a good old-fashioned lever.

How much is the Bollinger?

We don't know if the B2 will go on sale in the UK, let alone how much it would cost - though for off-road private estate use it doesn't matter if it's approved, and as an indicator of potential, right-hand drive production is confirmed. In North America it's priced at $125,000. That's equivalent to around £97,000.

The same amount of money will buy you a B2 pickup or a slightly smaller Bollinger B1 model, which is a four-door SUV.

The Bollinger B1 is 4,369mm long with a 3,023mm wheelbase. The B2 pickup has a 3,531mm wheelbase and is 5,275mm long; both models are 1,961mm wide excluding mirrors.

Bollinger B2 is 207 inches long

There have also been prototypes of a short wheelbase two-door model, but the reduced space for batteries and lack of demand mean that won't be produced until a 200-mile driving range can be achieved with smaller packs.

Bollinger's vision of sustainable cars

One of the justifications behind the Bollinger's design - and cost - is that it is intended to be a one-time purchase, rather than leased for three to five years, bought used, then discarded.

The concept of a sustainable car, that can be reconfigured, updated, and repaired without reliance on low-cost mass-produced components is not necessarily a new one, but it's one that has more chance of succeeding with an electric powertrain.

Even if the old 1960's second-world concepts of 'sustainable' cars - usually based on a production car chassis like a Citroen 2CV, wrapped in rust-evading easily hand-made panels for developing markets to make locally - relied on engines that needed tooling to make, that would fall foul of emissions regulations and so forth. They were designed to be cheap, too, rather than long-lasting.

Bollinger B2 lacks luxury trim

Bollinger's brave move is to work out how to make a truly well-engineered sustainable car, with all the R&D, hours and costs of manufacturing, and then just price it at a level that hopefully is profitable.

Short of making all the designs for items like the transaxle casings, control software and PCBs/components open-source (like Tesla claim to have done), it's one of the greenest approaches to car design; if you can find a 3D printing/machining facility, parts for the Bollinger could be reproduced to continue your journey. Or should we say, expedition.

Does the Bollinger have any rivals?

On a technical level, no, there's nothing else like it. Although there's nothing directly 'new' in most core aspects of the Bollinger, the way they've been combined is definitely a first - and it's genuinely clever, not just gratuitious. Everything is done in pursuit of making an all-purpose all-wheel drive electric car, though the final styling has definitely been through a few stages of refinement.

However, it's not the only electric pickup. Tesla's Cybertruck, challenges it on every level, and the announced pricing is far less than that of the B2.

On the other hand, repairing and adapting the Tesla's stainless body limits how useful it is, and we don't now how tough the suspension system would be or how it performs off-road yet.

Another new American electric pickup player is the Rivian R1T, which also promises some clever features and an SUV derivative, but it's more polished and lifestyle-oriented.

Looking at the utility off-road angle, the Bollinger will also faces challenges from the classic American 4x4 in pickup form, the Jeep Gladiator. Which also has a removable panel roof and uncompromised off-road ability - plus a swathe of established, cheap, conventional trucks.

$125,000 - another pointless status symbol?

We don't think so. The engineering looks like it might justify the cost.

Also read:

>> Tesla Cybertruck electric pickup

>> Rivian R1T electric pickup

>> New pickups coming soon