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EV startup Bollinger ‘indefinitely’ delays its rugged electric trucks to focus on delivery vans

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The latest electric vehicle company to run into delays

Photo by Sean O’Kane / The Verge

Bollinger, a Michigan-based startup, announced today that it was postponing its plans to manufacture electric trucks in order to focus on commercial delivery vans.

Bollinger burst onto the scene several years ago with a pair of rugged, box-like electric truck prototypes: the four-door B1 (which is shaped like a Jeep Wrangler) and the B2 (which is longer and has a pickup bed). It’s the latest EV startup to run into speed bumps as it attempts to build a complicated vehicle manufacturing business from scratch.

Bollinger has already delayed both vehicles, so their postponement may not come as a huge shock to close watchers. The trucks were originally scheduled to go into production in 2020, but that date was moved to late 2021, with the expectation of making several thousand by early 2022.

Now, the vehicles will be “postponed indefinitely” as the company shifts focus to an electric delivery van, Bollinger CEO Robert Bollinger said in a statement. The company will refund deposits for those customers who previously put money down to reserve the B1 and B2 trucks.

“The B1 and B2 are postponed indefinitely, in order to concentrate on commercial development,” he said. “As these trucks are dear to my heart, I’d never say never. If our continued development in commercial allows us to someday return, there’d be no one happier than me. But there’s no timeline for that.”

The Deliver-E electric van, which was announced in 2020, is slated to be built on a variable vehicle platform that allows for multiple battery sizes, such as 70 kWh, 105 kWh, 140 kWh, 175 kWh, and 210 kWh. This will mean customers will have a variety of range options, prices, and wheelbase sizes to choose from. The front-wheel-drive platform will be engineered to fit Classes 2B, 3, 4, and 5.

Bollinger declined to affirm a starting date for the van’s production, noting that the company is still on the hunt for a manufacturing partner. “The Deliver-E van was our interpretation of the kind of body that could be put on our electric platforms,” he said. “We never intended on building that body ourselves, but we are in talks with upfitter partners now that manufacture truck and van bodies.”

If it eventually graduates from concept to production, the Deliver-E will have a lot of competition. General Motors is already shipping electric vans under its BrightDrop brand to customers like FedEx and Walmart. Mercedes-Benz has multiple models on the road, and Ford plans to go into production this year on its electrified E-Transit van.

Amazon, which has a fleet of tens of thousands of combustion-engine vans making up its massive delivery operation, has ordered 100,000 electric vans from EV startup Rivian (which it is also heavily invested in) and is planning on buying EVs from Stellantis as well.