The Bollinger B1 is a seriously capable off-road EV | Top Gear
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BBC TopGear

The Bollinger B1 is a seriously capable off-road EV

American start-up announces deceptively clever EV SUV. We quite want one

Published: 02 Aug 2017

Bollinger. Good champagne – 007’s preference (other brands of champagne are available…). Also, the New York-based start-up responsible for the “no nonsense back-to-basics all-electric sport utility truck (SUT) with exceptional off road capability” you see before you. Huh.

Might look simple, but we’re assured it’s not. The B1 is a clean-sheet design that uses an all-aluminium chassis (and steel rollover structure) to keep weight down and proportions in-check. Its wheelbase is just 105in, and at a mere 150in long it’s almost four feet shorter than a Land Rover Discovery – a very good, if massive off-roader.

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Bollinger quotes approach and departure angles of 56 and 53 degrees respectively, with a break-over angle of 33 degrees and 15.5 inches of ground clearance. However, because the B1 rides on fully-adjustable, self-leveling, four-wheel independent, hydro-pneumatic suspension with “disconnectable” anti-roll bars, it can be raised through many more inches as required. Up to 20, in fact. Weight balance is a perfect 50/50, the power steering is hydraulic (yay) and it’ll tow almost three tonnes worth of miscellany.

Context? A Jeep Wrangler has approach and departure angles of, in its most rough-terrain-friendly configuration, 42 and 33 degrees, a break-over angle of 25.8 degrees and a non-adjustable 10 inches of ground clearance.

Like the fastest and most rangey Teslas, the B1 has twin electric motors. One each for the front- and rear-axles for permanent all-wheel drive. It makes 360bhp and 472 lb ft, which means this 1,769kg SUV that must surely have the aerodynamic properties of a Georgian mansion does 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds and 127mph. When it goes on sale, 60 or 100 kWh batteries will be available for 120 or 200 miles of range. A full charge from a normal 220v plug takes seven or 12 hours (45 to 75mins with a DC fast charger).

We know what you’re thinking: electricity and water don’t mix, and a proper off-roader should be able to wade. Well fear not. The B1’s batteries are sealed and can withstand submersion in 3.3ft of water for 30 minutes (like most EVs, it says), and it has a hose-down interior. Highlights of said interior include entirely mechanical instrumentation, and a weird but excellent pass-through to the ‘frunk’ that creates a load-bay basically as long as the car itself.

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Plan is for production to begin in two years or so, with the first deliveries 19 months from now. To start with you’ll buy directly through Bollinger, Tesla-style, but the company says that in due course it “will also look to open company and retail stores in major cities across the US”. Prices haven’t been released yet.

We just hope they build some. Wouldn’t be the first company to come out with a promising concept, only to fold and never be heard from again. In a world that’s talking openly about banning ICE cars altogether, this thing holds much promise for the off-roading, fun-having enthusiasts among us. We’ll take six.

Could this be the 21st century’s Land Rover Defender?

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