Bollinger has bad news for B1 and B2 EV reservation holders

Bad news if you wanted one of Bollinger Motors' all-electric B1 SUVs or B2 pickups, with word today that the EV startup is shelving its consumer vehicle roadmap. Announced back in 2017, the Bollinger B1 was to be a marriage of classic Land Rover-inspired styling with a modern electric drivetrain, though – it was later revealed – that matrimony wasn't going to come cheap.

After confirming the production-intent B1 and B2 models, complete with upright styling and intriguing features like a pass-through tunnel that ran the whole length of the EV, Bollinger broke the bad news. Both would start at $125,000, the company said, with a $1,000 refundable reservation to stake a place in line.

Production was said, in 2019, to be beginning in late 2020, and the first deliveries in 2021. That, clearly, failed to pan out. Today, Bollinger confirmed that it will "postpone" consumer truck production and delivery, as it looks instead to a commercial business. Reservation-holders will be refunded.

"We started Bollinger Motors in 2015 with a dream and a desire to make the best trucks possible," Robert Bollinger, CEO of Bollinger Motors, said in a statement. "We've put countless hours of hard work and passion into making something that makes us proud. However, today, we're postponing the consumer trucks' development and shifting our focus to commercial trucks and fleets."

Work on that commercial side of the company was revealed in 2020. First came a Class-3 B2 Chassis Cab, ostensibly the same as the B2 pickup up until the front doors, and then offering a flexible blank slate for fleet-builders to iterate on.

Later in the year, meanwhile, Bollinger demonstrated its vision of the electric van. The DELIVER-E Concept stepped away from the Brutalist styling of the consumer EVs, pairing more streamlined aesthetics with a practical cab and cargo space to win over businesses.

By the start of 2021, it seemed fairly clear that commercial was where Bollinger was making the most moves. Not only did it price up its Class 3 EV cab and platform, it also added rear-wheel drive and dually versions for more flexibility. The consumer models were still in the pipeline, the automaker insisted at the time, but had no further updates on the B1 or B2.

Since the electric SUV and pickup were first announced, of course, we've seen some high-profile entrants into the EV segment. Ford's F1-50 Lightning is expected to begin deliveries this year, priced from around $40k for work truck versions. Several high-end automakers have waded in with the promise of more lavish EV SUVs and pickups, each announcement leaving the specs of the B1 and B2 looking less impressive and their price tags more outlandish.

Success in the commercial space is, of course, far from guaranteed. Even when Bollinger showed off the DELIVER-E Concept, it already faced the reality of upcoming rivals like Ford's electric Transit. Rivian, too, has a commercial strategy, not to mention a big order from Amazon underway. With the electric vehicle space now firmly in the "put up or shut up" phase, more and more automakers are likely to discover that they'll need to work hard to keep that early reservation money.