More than 10,000 people have asked to reserve a Bollinger B1 since the battery-powered sport utility truck was unveiled earlier this summer, a sign there is consumer interest in the concept of a rugged off-road sport and work truck that runs on electricity rather than fossil fuel.
The mark was hit over the weekend, Bollinger Motors founder Robert Bollinger said Monday. The company began taking the “pre-orders” on at the end of July.
Handraisers who said they’d like one of the all-aluminum trucks designed by former advertising and marketing executive Bollinger haven’t been asked for deposits, and the orders aren’t considered binding. However, the company says the level of interest will bolster its efforts to raise funds to finance vehicle production.
A company spokesman told Trucks.com that Bollinger intends to launch a drive for institutional investors next year.
So far, the company – which is based in rural upstate New York – has been self-financed by Bollinger, a partner in an organic cosmetic products firm that recently sold for $336 million.
Bollinger reportedly has reached agreement with several manufacturing companies to build the trucks. A spokesman told Trucks.com that a production announcement will be made “soon” and that Bollinger remains on track to get the truck into production in 2019.
The B1 is a 3,900-pound behemoth developed as an alternative to mass-produced pickups and SUVs. It is target at hardcore off-road enthusiasts and workers whose assignments take them into rugged terrain. It looks like a mix of Land Rover Defender and Jeep Wrangler, and the rear half converts from covered cargo and passenger space to an open pickup bed.
Pricing hasn’t been set, but Bollinger said he’s aiming for “mid five-figures” after incentives. The truck likely would qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit and for any green vehicle state and local incentives that as are available.
Bollinger said he believes the B1 can be a successful niche product and that the company doesn’t need high-volume production and sales to survive and profit.
At present, the truck is a working prototype intended mainly to show investors and potential customers what will come if Bollinger gains the financing to go into production.
There are other electric light trucks available but all are reworked conventional pickups sold by aftermarket “upfitters.” Tesla, however, has said it would be introducing a Tesla electric pickup by mid-2019 and Ohio-based Workhorse Group said its prototype range-extended electric pickup, the W15, has generated 5,000 nonbinding orders and will go into production next year.
Although Bollinger might not be first to market with a factory-built all-electric truck, he said the B1 wouldn’t compete with what Tesla and Workhorse will offer. Those trucks are pickups only and neither is designed with the B1’s rugged off-road capabilities, he said.
“I think we really built something unique,” Bollinger said Monday. The early hand-raisers “are telling us they want a tough, capable truck that’s also electric.”
The B1 was unveiled in a media event in New York in late July and will make its industry debut Oct. 31 at the giant Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association – SEMA – automotive products trade show in Las Vegas.