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Unapologetic, functional design is the single luxury

If you gave a group of kids a pile of black crayons and asked them to draw a pickup truck, at least one of them would likely hand you a picture of the new Bollinger B2.

This all-electric vehicle has been completely stripped down to its utilitarian DNA so that in profile, it is simply a long rectangle on big wheels with a smaller rectangle on top for the cab.

The military-style boxiness of the pickup and its big brother the B1 SUV were recently on display at the LA Autoshow, exhibiting what can happen when you redesign a no-nonsense electric vehicle that is simply, and only, made to work.

In the Bollinger story, necessity is once again the mother of invention. Robert Bollinger, CEO and Founder had a successful career in industrial design, advertising and then a hair care company in New York. Taking a break from the demanding pace, he moved to the Catskill Mountains and co-started a grass-fed cattle farm. It was there that he decided to reinvent one of the main tools of his trade, a pickup truck that was falling short of what he needed it to do. As a result, the grounding philosophy behind Bollinger Motors became pure utility.

Located outside of Detroit in Ferndale Michigan, the design and engineering teams focused on optimizing the functionality of the vehicle, stripping down every feature to its bare essentials. This includes manually sliding windows, analogue gauges, body mounted audio speakers and sparse IP switches that offer a solid, satisfying click. Bollinger said that he approached the idea of offering luxury not in the finishes, but rather in the capability of the vehicles. You don’t vacuum the interior; you hose it down.

The vehicles have more than 600 horsepower with 688 lb.-ft torque with one motor in the front and one in the rear, running off a 120-kWh battery pack and can travel 200 miles per charge, needing 10 hours for a complete recharge. They have a top speed of 100 MP on 17-inch wheels with 15 inches of ground clearance. Payload capacity comes in at 5,000 pounds. Like a Jeep, the doors, windows and glass roof panels are all removable. Without a combustion engine to design around, there is a cargo bay that runs the entire length of the vehicle, from the front through the cab to the end of the rear bed.

As America’s first Class 3 electric pickup and sport utility vehicles, the design bypasses certain government regulations that require airbags, giving the steering wheel a naked appearance, and perhaps more places to grab in an emergency.

The wood top of the table-like centre console, the door pulls and the strips on the floor that run the length of the vehicle come from repurposed church pews out of a Detroit Baptist Church.

With a price tag at approximately $125,000 USD, production is expected to begin in 2020 on approximately 1,000 vehicles, with deliveries beginning in 2021. Love or hate the spartan aesthetic, these vehicles represent how the strength of a single, simple idea can be reflected in absolutely every aspect of a design. Would you order black, or order black? 

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