What is the vehicle of the future?

What is the vehicle of the future? Bollinger Motors B1 may fit the bill this year
by guest blogger Lynn Walford, AutoConnectedCarNews

When I serve as an expert for automaker interviews, I am usually asked, “What will be the vehicle of the future and how it will meet consumer needs?” Both consumers and automakers are looking for the ultimate vehicle. The vehicle of the future may be available soon from a grass roots startup in Hobart, New York, called Bollinger Motors. Let’s see what features the vehicle of future should have and if Bollinger Motors’ vehicle fits the bill.

The two major issues that always appear in these automotive expert interviews are:  What will power the car of the future?  What kind of vehicle will it be?

Electric Powers the Future
It has become commonly accepted that electric cars are by far more economical to run, much better for the environment and also more fun to drive because they have greater torque. Therefore, the car of the future will undeniably be electric. Navigant Research predicts LEV sales are expected to generate $9.3 billion in revenue in 2017 and more than double to a $23.9 billion market by 2026. When I was writing about electric cars for GET Creative USA Today/Gannett, electric vehicle experts and advocates concurred, “Once you drive an electric vehicle you can’t go back.” As an EV owner myself, I agree. I can’t go back to a gas-powered car. I am pleased to say I haven’t been to a gas station in several months. There are things however which consumers are not willing to give up for an electric vehicle- size, performance and convenience.

Size Matters
Storage space in EVs is minimal. I was able to get a futon mattress in my EV, but I can’t fit the new oak desk or the 2×4’s from Home Depot. I also can’t take it camping because I don’t have an extension cord that goes all the way to the lake. The front wheel drive doesn’t work well on dirt roads or uneven terrain. In a recent expert interview with an automaker, I was asked why people are buying trucks and SUVs more than any other vehicle and my answer was very easy, “Kids, sports, camping, home repair, extreme weather, pets road conditions and bad weather.”

SUVs & Trucks Rule
The massive trend of buying SUVs and trucks instead of cars is not slowing. KKB reports the shift from cars into SUVs shows no sign of slowing. This month, analysts expect an overall light truck mix of 63 percent, up from 58 percent last March. IHS Markit reported that Americans bought more SUVs than four-door cars for the first time starting in 2015. Even the luxury carmakers are trying to make fancy SUVs. Honestly, I’m going to take my pricey Tesla X or Porsche Panamera to Home Depot and load it up with fertilizer? I don’t think so. It’s not just people who need a bigger car, dogs do, too. I know several people who purchased SUVs and Mini Vans to carry their large dogs. Studies show that dog owners consider their dog’s needs when shopping for a car. A quarter of dog owners changed the body style of their car for their dog. What consumers are demanding is a vehicle that can carry a family, big dog, haul lumber and drive through snow up the mountain then go off road. Consumers have shown through their buying habits they want a vehicle that does everything. That’s why I am very interested in seeing what Bollinger Motors is doing with their electric truck SUV. It appears the company will be meet significant unfulfilled needs.

Bollinger Motors B1 Could Be the Answer
So far we know that the Bollinger Motors electric truck SUV, the B1, will have an all-aluminum chassis, individual wheel motors, super suspension, a convertible storage space and high ground clearance. I like to think of it as a mashup of a Land Rover Defender, Tesla Model X and Ford F-150. The B1 could power your cabin up the woods if needed. It also will not get stuck in snow or mud says Bollinger designers. The specifications of the Bollinger sports utility electric truck seem like a consumer’s dream or even more so a Californian’s dream, you can take it camping and off road without disturbing native creatures or fellow campers while enjoying nature at its finest. With a $7,500 Federal Tax Credit and at least $2,500 from the State of California the B1 could make truck and SUV makers very nervous. Company founder Robert Bollinger says that current trucks are not made properly and not designed well. Trucks have not changed basically in 100 years. From Hobart in upstate New York in the Catskills, Bollinger intends to transform trucks into something the planet needs with a team of hand-picked professionals lured from automakers, aftermarket suppliers and electric vehicle startups. The Bollinger Motors B1 is expected to be revealed later this year. Consumers and competitors should watch out for it.