Bollinger Motors: An Interview With Founder Robert Bollinger
With increasing pressure to reduce emissions and to help address climate change, nearly every major car company has released an electric version of their top-selling models. But one emerging company stands above the rest; balancing environmental impact, outstanding off-road utility and unparalleled design, no electric vehicle company does it quite like Bollinger Motors.
When Robert Bollinger and his team first set out to make the electric truck of their dreams, they knew it had to uniquely outshine competitors. So they stripped away "all that isn't necessary" and designed an all-electric truck that performs across any terrain and stands out from the rest.
"If you could take everything you love about a classic truck and combine it with the most refined essentials of a modern truck, redesign it with the highest quality materials and components available, oh and make it an electric vehicle – you'd have the basics for the Bollinger B1 electric sport utility truck." – Bollinger Motors.
Outerknown had the opportunity to use the Bollinger B1 Sport Utility Truck for our Fall/Holiday '21 catalog shoot because, of course, a feel-good, sustainable clothing company needs an equally good-looking, sustainable car to match!
We even had a chance to catch up with Robert Bollinger to learn more about the making of this electric truck and to hear how Bollinger Motors is helping pave the way for electric vehicles to come. We were interested to hear that when Bollinger began their journey, there were very few components on the market to choose from. Sounds reminiscent to Outerknown – when we began, sustainable resources were also very hard to find. Demand drives innovation, and we celebrate the pioneers like Bollinger that are boldly leading the way!
What inspired the creation of Bollinger?
When I was a kid, I drew Ferraris and sports cars. When I had the privilege of starting my own car company, I realized what I wanted was a truck; one with all-wheel drive, 50/50 weight balance and that could go anywhere. So, we set out to make the truck of our dreams.
What sets Bollinger apart from other electric vehicles out there?
We knew we had to create a truck that would be far better than anything on the market. Our ground clearance is up to 20", our passthrough allows 16' boards in the B2 and 13' in the B1. We have a hi/lo gearbox on each axle for off-roading locking diffs, 36" fording depth. No other truck, electric, gas or diesel comes close to our specs.
How do you feel your industry has changed since the creation of Bollinger?
When we started engineering the first prototype, the 2-door B1, there were almost no components on the market to choose from. Now there are a ton more vendors working in electric, which will eventually bring down all the costs. All the mainstream companies going electric will help that switchover and help us with even more vendors and lower prices.
Where did the design inspiration come from?
My overall aesthetic is minimal. I love straight lines, zero clutter, everything lining up perfectly. And that's not easy. It's a lot easier to throw curves and big, chunky, eye-catching headlights and taillights on cars and trucks. But to strip away all that isn't necessary and create a simple, clean machine is difficult. I wanted the trucks to be timeless and instant classics, not futuristic styling exercises that would look dated quickly.
What are some key features that make a Bollinger unique?
The passthrough is the feature that most people see first. That's the beauty of going electric; it allows an entirely new architecture. We have a patent on it even. We're also unique in being the only on-road vehicle with portal gear hubs. They add 4 more inches to the ground clearance but also double the torque at the wheel. We are also the only electric vehicle with a hi/low gearbox mounted on each axle with locking diffs. Both the B1 SUV and B2 pickup are off-road beasts. And they are the only consumer class 3 electric trucks, which means you can load in over 3,000 lbs. The hydro-pneumatic suspension is unique as well and allows 10-20" height adjustment. We worked hard to make a truck unlike anything else out there. We really have no competition.