Our product familiarization session with company founder Robert Bollinger and some of the key personnel responsible for bringing the four-door Bollinger B1 and B2 prototypes to life (not to mention the original two-door proof-of-concept vehicle) was incredibly productive and informative. Pretty much the entire 30-strong Bollinger Motors workforce was on hand at the trucks' gala launch event, so we got these folks to share more nitty-gritty details about their baby.
Genuine, Sanctified Wood
The wood that forms the strips lining the front, rear, and center-console cargo floors as well as the wood used to make the door pulls is all reclaimed hardwood that originally serves as church pews in a Detroit Baptist church. (Whether this source can sustain volume production is an open question, however).
Design For Profitable Manufacture
The front and rear suspensions are diagonally identical. That means the left front and right rear control arms, air springs, and tie rods are interchangeable, as are those in the right front and left rear. For now the rear tie rods are pinned in place, but adding four-wheel steering for tighter maneuvering would be as easy as installing a rack between them.
Bespoke Two-Speed Gearboxes
A freshly minted engineer named CJ Winegar designed the front and rear gearboxes that provide low-range for rock crawling. Each includes a series of three helical gears that transfer motor power laterally to the main gearbox that resides alongside the motor (incurring a slight ratio change in the process). Inside the main gearbox are the two sets of helical gears without synchronizers that are selected like those in a racing gearbox. Overall gearing, including the 1.94:1 ratio at each of the portal axles, is 22.5:1 in low range (good for 63 mph at 15,000 rpm) and 11.3:1 in high range (good for more than the 100 mph limited top speed). That means that in low range, the force available at each contact patch is more than 2,700 pounds from rest. Normal on-road operation in Drive does not utilize low range; it is selected by engaging L from the column shifter.
Vintage Steering Column
Bollinger electric trucks are rated to wade 36 inches deep. Obviously with no internal combustion engine to worry about, there's no need for snorkels and so forth, and their 2.5-ton weight means buoyancy isn't a major problem, but that's the safe depth for keeping all the electrics and electronics safe.
Simplifying the door removal process is the fact that nothing in the doors requires wiring. The windows are manual sliders that remove, the mirrors are manual, the locks are manual, and there are key cylinders on all four doors, the front and rear "tailgates and midgates," the lockable stowage cubbies in the pickup bed, etc. All audio speakers are body mounted (including under the dash).
There is a small round display flanked by two knobs that control the audio system, the head unit for which is secreted under the dash. We didn't try it, but presumably it will at least feature a USB connection for smartphone playback.
The 17-inch eight-lug 12-spoke aluminum wheels are sourced from the same company that made wheels for the Hummers. But despite fitting portal axles as Hummer did on the H1, Bollinger has no plans to offer central tire inflation (at this point).
Robust Tow Hooks
Hummer H1s were designed to be airlifted by helicopters, and the Bollinger electric trucks feature equally robust tow hooks capable of supporting the weight of the truck. But because the rear ones are inset into the rear bumper, attaching airlift cables would be problematic.
Removable Bumper Corners
Need to attack that obstacle a bit more aggressively? The approach and departure angles of the vehicle corners can be improved by removing the outer corners of the front and rear bumpers (which we're told makes it look more Rubicon-ready as well).
Bollinger is looking to sign dealers currently selling Aston Martin, Bentley, Koenigsegg, Pagani, and/or Porsche vehicles. Prospective customers of the Bollinger B1 and Bollinger B2 are expected to own multiple vehicles.