The battle of the big game talkers.
Last week, Tesla unveiled the Tesla Cybertruck and all the talk has understandably focused on its polarizing design. But it's worth remembering there is some serious technology going on under the unpainted metal. It's also worth remembering another electric vehicle company is putting together a truck that's not celebrated for its looks in the form of the Bollinger B2. Let's take a look at how they stack up at this point in time.
Even if Tesla's claim of a $39,900 starting price turns out to be tens of thousands of dollars short, the Bollinger B2 pickup is slated to start at $125,000. However, Bollinger isn't borrowing money and playing the investor game. Instead, the carmaker is taking the novel approach of pricing its vehicles to cover their material and production costs. If that approach pays off, Bollinger will build its momentum slowly with prices to come down over time.
It wasn't long ago that Musk was telling us the Tesla Cybertruck would be able to tow 300,000 lbs, calling the Ram 1500's towing capacity of 12,000 lbs "puny." However, now push has come to shove, the bottom of the range Tesla truck is touted to pull 7,500 pounds while the Tri-Motor AWD Cybertruck is rated at 14,000 lbs.
The Bollinger B2 is set in stone to tow a maximum of 7,500 pounds. However, its payload capacity is 5,000 pounds versus the Cybertruck's standard 3,500 pounds. When it comes to the truck bed, the Bollinger B2 is clearly aimed at being used for work stuff, and the back of the cab acts as a gate so when the rear seats are folded the truck bed has a pass-through area to allow it to carry longer items. The Cybertruck does have useful cargo features as well, including an under-bed storage area and a front trunk. But, you can't load the bed from the sides.
The Cybertruck's styling verges on the comical with a design that looks more like the 1970's Brubaker Box than something from the future. At the same time, the Bollinger B2 could easily be mistaken for an old Land Rover Defender's body being hung on the frame of a Jeep Gladiator.
Both have reasoning behind their design, though. The Cybertruck uses a "stress-skin design," with cold-rolled stainless steel giving it strength. The Bollinger B2 relies on an old school body on frame design for strength and an all-aluminum body to keep things as light as possible from there.
There's a clear win here for the Cybertruck with a spacious and modern interior full of modern technology. Conversely, the Bollinger B2 takes its interior tech cues from the 1970s with manual sliding windows, analogue gauges, and flat panels across the dashboard and doors.
While the Cybertruck benefits from Tesla's existing interior lessons and know how, the Bollinger's interior is best described as ultra-utilitarian. That's not just in materials and lack of technology, but in how the interior can have long items passed through it due to its "Skateboard" chassis design with the batteries loaded into the floorpan.
Tesla appears to be aiming to disrupt the pickup market by going for traditional metrics like towing capacity and brute strength. The use of the cold-rolled stainless-steel looks like it could be a solution in search of a problem though, as trucks have been using a boxy design for decades. Boxes simply allow the most useable space.
Bollinger's approach is much more utilitarian and in touch with how people use their trucks now for work. They carry long lengths of wood and fill up the truck bed with heavy materials to move around. A slick interior is going to get beaten up over time and is hard to clean.
Ultimately, if the Tesla Cybertruck doesn't change too much, and if it reaches production, we're looking at a lifestyle truck. Something you can roll your ATV up the ramp of or pack with friends and cargo for a trip out into the wild. Bollinger has built something for people that use their trucks for work. All the thought has gone into making it practical as well as durable for day to day use as a working vehicle.