B1 a rugged elec­tric star

Albany Extra - - Motoring - Ray Cully

Al­low me to in­tro­duce the Bollinger B1, a ve­hi­cle look­ing so wrong and yet so right.

Imag­ine com­bin­ing the DNA from a Jeep Wran­gler and a Land Rover De­fender and hand­ing over the prog­eny to be raised by Skynet Cy­ber­dyne Sys­tems Cor­po­ra­tion in a fu­tur­is­tic time line.

Founder Robert Bollinger had be­come in­creas­ingly frus­trated with the lim­i­ta­tions and ir­ra­tional de­sign trends for com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles which, in his opin­ion, of­ten got in the way of prac­ti­cal­ity and ver­sa­til­ity.

Bollinger isn’t try­ing to com­pete with es­tab­lished man­u­fac­tur­ers but demon­strate elec­tric ve­hi­cles can and will play a sig­nif­i­cant role for off-road ve­hi­cles.

The Bollinger bucks the trend of ster­il­i­sa­tion and co­coon­ing oc­cu­pants in an op­u­lently ap­pointed elec­tron­i­cally op­er­ated cap­sule iso­lat­ing the raw tac­tile and sen­sory en­gage­ment of the driver and oc­cu­pants with their sur­round­ings.

Un­like mod­ern elec­tron­i­cally en­hanced four-wheel-drives try­ing to com­pen­sate for driver er­ror, the Bollinger puts the driver firmly in the pilot seat. Yes, it re­quires driver skill to guide this sim­ple me­chan­i­cal ma­chine safely through chal­leng­ing ter­rain. Get off your PlayS­ta­tion; do it for real.

The in­te­rior of the B1 is ba­sic at best, the style is set by man­ual slid­ing win­dows and ana­logue gauges even for the bat­tery in­di­ca­tor.

With no in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine, the elec­tric mo­tors and bat­ter­ies are mounted at floor-pan lev­The el, pro­vid­ing a low cen­tre of grav­ity and a near-per­fect 50:50 weight dis­tri­bu­tion. Stor­age is com­modi­ous, with a sec­ond boot space up front where the en­gine would nor­mally be and a pass-through panel al­low­ing for longer items.

It’s clear Bollinger has placed prac­ti­cal­ity and func­tion at the fore­front of the de­sign when look­ing at off-road ca­pa­bil­ity.

The ve­hi­cle runs on LT285/70/ R17 tyres, with 390mm of ground clear­ance and 250mm of wheel travel. It also in­cludes lock­ing front and rear dif­fer­en­tials with dis­con­nect­ing sway bars, a 56de­gree ap­proach an­gle for rock ledges and 54 de­grees for de­par­ture to en­sure you don’t scrape your tail on steep slopes.

But a fully elec­tric 4WD . . . surely it’s not pos­si­ble?

B1 runs dual elec­tric mo­tors cou­pled to a two-speed box trans­mit­ting power to the out­bound in-wheel geared axle hubs of­fer­ing a fur­ther torque mul­ti­pli­ca­tion of 2:1. Ac­cord­ing to Bollinger, the B1 is ca­pa­ble of stomp­ing from 0-100km/h in a lit­tle over 4.5 sec­onds, thanks in part to the ef­fi­ciency of the elec­tric mo­tors de­ploy­ing 630Nm of torque from stand still.

Add a quoted car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity of over two tonnes and this is one im­pres­sive ve­hi­cle.

The down­side?

At least for now, the B1 is lim­ited to a 300km range.

Given what this ve­hi­cle pro­vides to­day and prom­ises for the fu­ture, this is a se­ri­ously pos­i­tive out­look for those who love ex­plor­ing out­doors.

Imag­ine tack­ling those tracks in highly ca­pa­ble ve­hi­cles which are en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly with zero emis­sions. and no noise pol­lu­tion.

Are you smil­ing yet?

Bollinger B1 has a pass-through door for long items.

Form and func­tion win out over artistic de­sign in the B1.

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