Bollinger Motors unveiled its B1 on July 27 near its headquarters in New York City, a vehicle it calls the world’s first pure electric off-roader, with a predicted range of 320 kilometers and sprightly on-road performance, too.
At a quick glance, the B1 looks a lot like a Land Rover Discovery, sharing the latter’s basic three-box design, but the similarities end there.
The Bollinger uses two electric motors, fore and aft, powered by a centrally-positioned floor-battery, available in 60- or 100-kWh capacities, offering 190 or 320 kilometers of range, respectively.
The vehicle’s naturally low centre-of-gravity – which it owes to that aforementioned floor-mounted battery pack and low-slung, compact motors – will endow it with impressive side-slope capabilities, reducing the risk of roll-overs when making white-knuckle maneuvers off-road.
Electric motors are well suited for off-road driving thanks to the fact their full torque is available from zero rpm, meaning challenges such as rock-crawling can be accomplished with finesse and precision.
The combined output of the B1’s electric motors sends 360 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque to the wheels, enabling the lightweight off-roader, which tips the scales at just 1,769 kilograms, to accelerate to 96.5 km/h (60 mph) in a scant 4.5 seconds, going on to a top speed of 204 km/h—these performance capabilities render the B1 one of the quickest off-road vehicles ever built.
Bollinger utilized aluminum extensively throughout the vehicle, starting with a space-frame that weighs just 134 kilograms, thereby offsetting the weight penalty necessitated by the heavy battery pack.
The B1 sports a payload capacity of 2,767 kilograms, and it’s capable of towing the same heft.
The B1’s designers were able approach the suspension system design with a clean slate thanks to their use of electric propulsion. They eventually conceived a setup which provides impressive ground clearance of 39 centimeters (15.5 inches) with a full 25 centimeters (10 inches) of wheel travel. Drivers can make full use of the vehicle’s wheel articulation thanks to disconnecting anti-roll bars.
“The B1 combines Bollinger Motors’ advanced all-wheel-drive system with our all-electric powertrain to produce best-in-class horsepower, torque and ground clearance,” said CJ Winegar, Bollinger Motors engineer.
“This vehicle signifies a huge leap above what is currently on the market. There’s nothing like it out there.”
Electrically-actuated front and rear differential locks can be utilized for the deepest of mud, and slipperiest rock faces.
Approach and departure angles are competitive with the best of Jeep and Land Rover, measuring 56 and 53 degrees respectively. The B1’s break-over angle measures 33 degrees, meaning the electrified SUV can straddle fallen logs and sharp rocks with less risk of getting beached.
Thanks to some clever packaging, the rear exterior panels of the vehicle fold and stack away, meaning the vehicle can be converted from a traditional four-passenger SUV layout to a more utilitarian rear-cargo truck.
The vehicle’s interior appears rather spartan, with a clear focus on function over fashion, though the company does say its B1 can be optioned with leather accents to spruce up the ambience.
Perhaps the best feature the B1 brings to the table is its near-silent operation, which should allow occupants to get closer to wildlife while taking in the outdoors, with nature’s soundtrack playing more prominently than the noise of the B1’s motors.
Twin 110-volt power outlets are mounted in the vehicle, as well as USB and 12-volt plugs in the front of the cabin, meaning the B1 can power anything from an iPhone to a circular saw or a small fridge.
It’s not clear, though, if there’s enough juice on board to power the B1 and its tools far enough down the trail.
A best-case-scenario driving range of 320 kilometers, under ideal conditions, means the B1 can only venture 160-kilometers down a trail before having to turn around—and that’s at ideal temperatures, on a smooth road with no payload, and with no use of the vehicle’s on-board power outlets or creature comforts.
Factor in cold Canadian weather, a payload, deep mud or snow, and use of the heater, and it appears the B1 would be hard-pressed to venture even 100 kilometers down a trail, which isn’t very far by Canadian standards, or U.S. standards, for that matter.
Whereas gasoline- or diesel-powered 4×4s can carry supplemental fuel supplies to significantly extend their driving range, the B1 cannot extend its range once it’s in the thick of it.
Thus, while the B1 is equipped with some serious off-road hardware, it appears, at least until its battery technology can offer longer range, its use for serious off-road expeditions is limited.
Bollinger has yet to announce pricing, but told us the B1 will be sold in Canada and the U.S. with deliveries to Canadian customers expected in the first quarter of 2019.
B1 build-slots can be held by placing a $1,000 USD deposit through the company’s website, at www.bollingermotors.com.