Bollinger Motors Mulls Move From Upstate New York to Detroit

Bollinger looking to tap Motor City talent.

byStephen Edelstein| UPDATED May 28, 2019 1:31 PM
Bollinger Motors Mulls Move From Upstate New York to Detroit

While it hasn't gotten its B1 electric utility vehicle into production yet, Bollinger Motors is planning to move its headquarters from upstate New York to Detroit. Company founder Robert Bollinger told Curbed Detroit that he is already scouting locations in the Motor City.

Bollinger Motors is currently located in Hobart, in New York's Catskill Mountains. Robert Bollinger started the company after selling an organic hair and skincare company he helped found and moving to a farm in the Catskills. It's easy to see how someone who owns a farm might want a rugged four-wheel drive electric vehicle like the B1, but that doesn't make Hobart the ideal location to run a car company.

A move to Detroit will give the company more access to potential new employees and vendors, Bollinger told Curbed Detroit. The company currently has eight employees, but Bollinger wants to hire 10 more after the move. Initially, the company will locate a research and development center in Detroit, as well as offices. But manufacturing could also be situated there in the future, Bollinger said.

Bollinger hopes to start production of the B1 in the second half of 2019, and fully ramp up by 2020. Unlike the electric vehicles created by most other startups, the B1 focuses on utility and off-road capability. Its Spartan exterior and interior recall early 4x4s like the Jeep CJ and Land Rover Series models. Its two electric motors produce a combined 360-horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque. It will be available with 60-kilowatt-hour or 100-kWh battery packs, offering an estimated 120 miles or 200 miles of range, respectively.

Bollinger said he initially looked at locations along Detroit's I-75 corridor, but then decided that he wanted a spot closer to the city center. He plans to renovate an existing building rather than build from scratch and is looking for something in the 15,000 to 25,000-square-foot range.

Moving to Detroit could be a smart move for Bollinger Motors. It would give the company more access to auto-industry resources, and accelerate the process of getting the B1 into production. But the move could be a loss for Bollinger's current hometown. While Detroit has certainly seen its share of economic misfortune, it's got plenty of automakers. Hobart and its surrounding region don't have any major businesses to speak of so the loss of Bollinger Motors could be a big blow to the town.