Why Robert Bollinger decided an electric utility truck was 'obvious'

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One week from today, in a pricey supercar club in Manhattan, journalists, electric-car advocates, and perhaps a few celebrities will gather for the unveiling of a new electric vehicle.

It's not another fast, luxurious sedan or crossover utility vehicle.

Instead, it's an electric utility truck called the Bollinger B1.

DON'T MISS: All-electric Bollinger heavy truck chassis revealed, July 27 debut to follow

It's the brainchild of entrepreneur Robert Bollinger, who lives on a farm near the small, fading town of Hobart, New York.

Driving into Hobart, you pass a handful of abandoned buildings and remnants of the bustling agricultural town it clearly was in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Delaware County then supplied crops, meat, and fresh milk to the surging population of New York City, 150 miles to the southeast.

Bollinger Motors, Hobart, New York, July 2017

Bollinger Motors, Hobart, New York, July 2017

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Bollinger Motors, Hobart, New York, July 2017

Bollinger Motors, Hobart, New York, July 2017

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Bollinger Motors, Hobart, New York, July 2017

Bollinger Motors, Hobart, New York, July 2017

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Bollinger Motors, Hobart, New York, July 2017

Bollinger Motors, Hobart, New York, July 2017

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Today, like large swathes of the middle of New York state, the area scrapes by on agriculture, dairy farming, service jobs, and weekend homes.

Bollinger Motors is in a tidy, unmarked building on the outskirts that was previously a service garage for large vehicles. 

The enterprise got underway roughly two years ago, after the startup organic personal-care company Bollinger had helped to run was purchased by a private-equity firm for a nine-figure sum.

READ THIS: Bollinger Motors promises all-electric off-road 'sport utility truck'

The idea of an electric utility truck was "obvious" to Bollinger almost immediately, he told Green Car Reports.

We can't reveal any details of the truck, its capacities or capabilities, or any of its design features—those have to wait another week—but we got a tour of the company, interviews with its design and engineering staff, and a view of the truck as it was being photographed.

Bollinger was eager to explain what motivated him to found a vehicle company in the vastly different automotive space.

Chassis of Bollinger electric off-road utility truck

Chassis of Bollinger electric off-road utility truck

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Chief engineer Carl Hacken, associate Dan Aliberti, Bollinger Motors, Hobart, New York, July 2017

Chief engineer Carl Hacken, associate Dan Aliberti, Bollinger Motors, Hobart, New York, July 2017

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Engineer CJ Winegar, Bollinger Motors, Hobart, New York, July 2017

Engineer CJ Winegar, Bollinger Motors, Hobart, New York, July 2017

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On his farm, he noted, the utility vehicles are often older diesels with limited emission controls, and they're noisy too.

"I wanted to go electric, to see something totally different that I could use myself," he said, "something that was fully functional."

Next's week unveiling will show off the features he sees as necessary for such a work truck, though the vehicle may offer a few surprises to boot.

CHECK OUT: Workhorse range-extended electric pickup truck announced

He was always a secret car designer, Bollinger admitted, suggesting that his tenure at the personal-care products company had come unexpectedly through the close friend who had started it and became his business partner.

To sketch out the requirements for his truck, Bollinger started with a set of requirements: tasks around his farm and in the local town it needed to be able to perform with no compromises over a comparable diesel utility truck.

Then he started looking at ways an electric drivetrain might allow some additional capabilities not found in competing vehicles.


 
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