Bollinger’s New Electric SUV and Pickup Show What’s Possible With EV Design

Maria J. Danford

For the Frunkgate, photograph a typical, fold-down tailgate on a pickup, only up entrance. The Passthrough connects entrance and rear, via a passageway bored while the entrance firewall and the passenger compartment. Picture: Bollinger Motors The Frunkgate can double as a workspace.  The end result is unparalleled cargo-carrying versatility: The […]

For the Frunkgate, photograph a typical, fold-down tailgate on a pickup, only up entrance. The Passthrough connects entrance and rear, via a passageway bored while the entrance firewall and the passenger compartment.

The end result is unparalleled cargo-carrying versatility: The cargo beds of most “full-size” pickup vehicles are just one.8 meters (or 6 feet) lengthy, with the longest beds limited to 2.4 m. But the Bollinger B2 can swallow cargo up to 4.nine meters long—lumber, ladders, poles, gutters, whatever—that extends from the truck’s blunt nose all the way to the back again of its tailgate.

Fall the tailgate, and even longer items can suit aboard. And the only reason any of this is doable is due to the fact there is no motor in the way, no want for an air-inhaling grille and radiator up entrance, and no transmission jogging together the vehicle’s backbone.

“It’s a straightforward idea, but it transforms the truck,” stated Robert Bollinger, the company’s founder. “And lo and behold, no one particular experienced patented the idea.”

Even the Bollinger B1 SUV can cope with items up to 4 meters lengthy, with its haul locked safely inside.

“I can not do that in my Chevy pickup,” Bollinger stated. “And if you are in any SUV, and you are passing Home Depot and want that ten-foot two-by-4, you can not get it residence.”

When Bollinger started his company in 2015, the really idea of an electric pickup truck seemed a novelty. Bollinger earned a Carnegie Mellon degree in industrial and products style, manufactured it significant with a hair- and pores and skin-care company, and then bought his Catskills farm to move to Detroit and comply with his lifelong automotive aspiration.

Suddenly, electric pickups are the best factor in the electric game, with Tesla, Ford, Rivian, and Basic Motors’ Chevrolet and GMC Hummer manufacturers amid all those racing to deliver models to market. Bollinger is a comparatively tiny participant, but appears to be on observe to defeat them all to showrooms, with ideas to establish one,000 copies of the B1 and B2 in 2021, and to develop from there.

Bollinger’s aluminum-bodied brutes send out 614 horsepower and 668 pound-feet of torque to all 4 wheels, with a claimed to sixty mph run in a scorching 4.5 seconds.

But their main mission is as hardcore, Class 3 work automobiles, which include the capacity to carry a amazing 2.3 metric tons of cargo. Their doorway and roof panels are also removable, as in a Jeep Wrangler, for contemporary-air adventures. And their intricate, expensive “portal axles,” now identified on just one particular other production passenger model—the $225,000 Mercedes-Benz G550 4×4 Squared—give the Bollingers an insane 50 percent a meter of adjustable ground clearance, making it possible for them to traverse any conceivable terrain, or wade through one particular-meter-deep water.

A very little engineering ingenuity will allow the Bollingers to squeeze more out of their electric layouts. Their massive a hundred and twenty kilowatt-hour battery packs enable the automobiles run as all-day cell generators and workshops on design web sites or farms. That incorporates 4 highly effective, 30-amp electric retailers in their “frunk”—the portmanteau for the underhood storage location in models like the rear-engined, Porsche 911 sports activities automobile, or Teslas.

That 244-liter frunk can maintain electric saws and other power equipment, when the Frunkgate can fold down to double as a workbench. An onboard power inverter lessens the 360-volt main program to 240 volts for all those strong retailers at the entrance and rear to family voltage for interior hookups to laptops and other products and to twelve volts to power standard gauges and equipment.

A Bollinger competitor, Rivian—whose main backers include things like Ford and Amazon—is also advancing the development in functional, successful EV style with its very own “Gear Tunnel,” which operates aspect-to-aspect somewhat than entrance-to-back again. In the Rivian R1T truck and R1S SUV models, that feature will allow for an optional “camp kitchen,” which incorporates a two-burner cooktop, performing sink, and storage that slides out from the vehicles’ sides.

Yet another perk: The Rivian’s 4, personal electric wheel motors enable it execute a unique “Tank Turn”: The truck can rotate in put, by spinning wheels on each and every aspect of the truck in opposite directions, for simple maneuvering in limited quarters—or just spraying mud in a movie-pleasant fashion.

So what took producers so lengthy to debut these kinds of novel strategies in EV style?

Specialists say that older generations of EVs were being normally retrofits of present automobile platforms, which gave designers actually no place to experiment. Due to the fact all those platforms were being never ever designed to carry batteries over and above a typical twelve-volt lead-acid unit, designers were being forced to cram propulsion batteries in wherever they could, in particular in trunks and hatches. The resulting EVs and even hybrids in fact experienced much less cargo or passenger room than fossil-fueled versions—a flip-off for prospective customers.

In contrast, the latest EVs are blank-sheet creations, envisioned as electric autos from the outset. Their architectures combine “skateboard” platforms that package lithium-ion batteries solely underneath the floor, which not only enhances passenger and cargo room, but boosts dealing with by reducing a vehicle’s heart of gravity. Lowering the dimensions, excess weight, and price tag of all those batteries stays a main obstacle. But designers are now no cost to tinker with all the room above—including punching holes in a truck from nose to tail.

“If you commence from the ground up, you make a a great deal more successful and fantastic automobile,” Bollinger stated.

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