One of the most interesting and compelling vehicles at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show looks like it was styled by the same team that did the exterior design for your window air conditioner, and yet it’s somehow more exciting than nearly every other SUV at the show. It’s the Bollinger B1 all-electric utility truck, and I got to really, really inspect this grey beast.
I’ve written about the B1 before, because it employs a front trunk/truck bed design that’s remarkably like one I had a few years ago. As an electric vehicle, the B1 doesn’t use the usual space-gobbling internal-combustion drivetrain, and instead locates all its propulsive components in and under the floor of the truck, leaving the entire length of the vehicle available for passengers and cargo.
It’s a wonderfully and simply designed vehicle: flat aluminum body panels, riveted together, lots of exposed fasteners for easy access to remove or repair things like lights and door handles, removable doors and roof, and an interior floor sprayed with bedliner for durability.
It’s got everything you could ever want in a truck, with the possible exception of aerodynamics, since this thing has a Cd that’s about the same as an average microwave. Even so, they still claim a range of about 200 miles per charge (with their 100 kWh battery), which really isn’t that different from what you’d get in an old Bronco with a 12-gallon fuel tank.
The Bollinger PR guy claims the B1 is very capable off-road, can be submerged in 3 feet of water without electrocuting you, and employs such advanced tech as portal axles, locking axles, hydropneumatic suspension, and inboard disc brakes, both of those last two traits having a very Citroën feel to them.
It’s got 10 inches of wheel travel, over 15 inches of ground clearance, and a 56 degree approach, 33 degree break over, and a 53 degree departure angles. That’s pretty damn good.
The one thing that’s still quite uncertain is price. They have plenty (10,000!) of preorders, but the pricing is still very much up in the air. I’d guess if they want to be competitive but still make money on this low-volume truck, we’re looking at about $80,000, though anything from $70 to $100,000 is possible.
I do like this thing. I’d love to see something like this smaller and cheaper, because I’m both of those things, but I’m not holding my breath. For those of you in the market for an old Land Rover Defender or perfect VW Thing but need to haul the occasional telephone pole and hate fossil fuels, I think your search is over.