DETROIT — Since Bollinger Motors moved last fall from Hobart, N.Y., to a gritty industrial park just north of Detroit, the company has been quietly turning its concept all-wheel-drive electric off-road vehicle into one that is production-ready.
The company has hired engineers, lined up its first vendors, started testing components, shopped for a manufacturing site and worked on the myriad other things it takes to build and sell high-quality vehicles.
But one of Bollinger's biggest hurdles may not involve making the electric motors run or cooling battery packs. The venture, financed to this point by founder Robert Bollinger, is looking for $100 million to complete the engineering work and begin production.
Bollinger, 52, told Automotive News that he's confident he can raise that amount, which is modest by auto-industry standards.
Bollinger, who holds a degree in industrial design, made his fortune in the cosmetics industry. Visitors to the Ferndale, Mich., office are greeted by three big free-roaming dogs — Charlie, Henry and Paco.
In July, two years will have passed since Bollinger introduced the boxy B1, which the company calls a sport-utility truck, at the Classic Car Club of Manhattan. Since then, work has started on the B2, a four-door version of the B1, and an electric pickup. Bollinger envisions all three sharing the same basic mechanical components. He plans to make them low volume, exclusive (read: expensive) and off-road capable.
Bollinger plans to introduce the new vehicles in July at a factory it's acquiring about five miles from Ford Motor Co.'s headquarters in Dearborn, Mich.
The company plans to grow from just 17 full-time staff members to about 100 by the time production begins in the second half of 2020. Progress comes in small steps: Just last week, the company received its state-issued manufacturer license plates, so now it can test vehicles on public roads.