Battery bakkie in the works: Meet the Bollinger B1 4x4

2017-08-10 06:03

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IN July 2016, Wheels24 reported on a great many happenings, all of which could alter our automotive future. The first of which is France and Britain’s announcement of 2040 as the date of reckoning for petrol and diesel vehicle sales. 

The second pivotal happening is that Tesla’s Model 3 is now real, and the first customers received their cars. 

Battery powered cars and value are two concepts which have simply not found each other. Nearly forgotten in all the theatre around Tesla’s Model 3 reveal has been the B1. No, it’s not a new bomber for the American Air Force but the rather interesting creation of Robert Bollinger, a man who loves traditionally robust 4x4s but has realised that EVs are the future. 

B attery bakkie

It’s not made from carbon-fibre or styled to be exceptionally slippery but Bollinger’s B1 has amazing load capacity and ingenious convertibility from station wagon to bakkie. The all-aluminium surface construction keeps weight down and the cabin approaches Lotus 7 levels of simplicity: there are absolutely no touch screens or any digitisation – even the battery charge levels are measured by analogue dials. 

Powering the 1770kg 4x4 is a 100kW/h electric motor good for 268kW and 640Nm. Bollinger claims a top speed of 205kph and range of 320km, with that endurance rechargeable in 75 minutes. Beyond the impressive performance statistics, the B1 has terrific off-road ability and load-through practicality, the calibre of which most bakkie and SUV owners can only dream of. 

With the drivetrain not extending higher than the floorplan, there’s a clever centre hatch which loads items through the space where you’d ordinarily find an internal combustion engine.

The result is a load space which can accommodate full-size ladders and construction materials up to 3m long. No more annoying red flags and strapping things to the roof. And best of all you’ll be able to take those constructions materials anywhere you wish to build that log cabin. 

Bollinger’s 4x4 is rated to carry an astounding 2700kg and with 390mm of ground clearance of a 56-degre approach angle, the B1 can roll its 285/70/R17 tyres over just about anything you could imagine. Those clearance, approach angle and load capacity numbers absolutely shame any Land Rover Defender, Land Cruiser or Mercedes.

Purposeful. Rugged. Yet contemporary. Bollinger has done what Tesla promises but has not yet deliver: a proper off-road capable SUV – which can, almost unfathomably, also be a bakkie. -Wheels24

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