As much as it pains me to say this, all electric vehicles are starting to make some sense. Of course, there’s the Telsa that’s dominating drag strips all over the world. And now there’s a vehicle called the B1, built by Bollinger, and it’s the first off-road based electric vehicle. Which might seem ridiculous at first, but when you think about it, torque is usually the most important part of off-roading because it’s what going to pull, or push, you up and over whatever obstacle you’re facing. Since instant torque is one of the few appealing things about using electric motors, Bollinger might be on to something with the B1.
Speaking of the electric motors, let’s talk about the powertrain for the B1. It uses a dual motor setup that works together to create a combined power output of 360hp, and more importantly a frame twisting 472lb-ft of torque. Since the B1 somewhat resembles a combination of a Jeep Wrangler and a Land Rover Defender 90, I’ll use the Jeep as a point of comparison. For example, the current Wrangler comes with a 3.6L V6 that’s rated at 285hp and 260lb-ft of torque. So not only does the B1 has almost double the torque, but it also has almost 100 more horsepower, which is enough to make a substantial difference when going off the beaten path.
Since it’s so powerful and requires big heavy batteries you might assume the B1 going to be significantly heavier than the standard two-door Wrangler. However, that’s not the case at all. The Wrangler Sport is the lightest of the Wranglers, and it weighs in at 3,879lbs. The Rubicon Wranglers weigh in at just over 4,100lbs. So for the B1 to tip the scales at just 3,900lbs makes it extremely competitive in the market.
Where the B1 really sets itself apart from the rest is when it comes to storage space. Because it doesn’t have the normal engine bay like any other gas powered vehicle, Bollinger engineers were able to come up with a design that can utilize that space if needs be. They call the front cargo area a “frunk,” which is obviously a play on word for the front trunk, and they have a pass through compartment that will allow you to store long 2×4’s or anything else that stretches 12 feet long, 15’4″ if you keep the lift gates open. Apparently, you can carry up to 6100lbs worth of cargo in the B1 thanks to a total of 95 cubic feet when you remove the rear seats. If you happen to be using it as a work vehicle, you can even run your power tools off the B1’s battery pack, which would be convenient if you ‘re out in the middle of nowhere.
Which brings me to what might be the most significant “con” of the B1. If you did decide to take it out to the middle of nowhere, you’d have to be extremely smart about it considering the limited range of the battery pack. After all, going out in the middle of nowhere is one of the best parts about having an off-road vehicle and granted you still have to plan accordingly with a gas powered engine, but that’s easy enough because all you need to do is bring a couple gas cans and you’re good to go. However, it’s not that simple with an electric vehicle, you can’t take extra power with you in order to recharge the batteries. I guess you technically could use the B1’s massive cargo space to carry a generator and the gas to power it but doesn’t that defeat the purpose of having an electric vehicle in the first place?
The B1 will be offered with two range options, 120 miles, and 200 miles. But I assume that will vary depending on how hard you’re pushing it. The B1 appears to be quite capable as far as an off-roader thanks to plenty of power and as much as 15.5 inches of ground clearance with the option of 10 more thanks to the adjustable self-leveling hydropneumatic suspension. But the drawback is if you’re doing some hardcore rock crawling, or something along those lines, that’s going to drastically reduce your range.
So in conclusion, I genuinely feel as if Bollinger might be on to something with the B1. I don’t think I would be trading in the Jeep quite yet for a few reasons. First and foremost because of the cost. The B1 is listed from $60,000-$85,000 depending on the options you choose, which is more than double that of a Wrangler. Second being the range. I can’t imagine how frustrating it would be to get out on the trail and suddenly lose power with absolutely no options for fixing it. But, with that being said, if you were just taking it out to a local offroad park where you could get access to electricity, or just somewhere close enough where you wouldn’t need to worry about going over the range allotment, the monstrous amount of power and instant torque would be worth its weight in gold.