The Friday Five:The Bollinger Frunkgate, One-Millionth VW, and Ford Summer Debuts Edition

Beverly Braga | Jun 05, 2020

This week marks the halfway point of year with summer (and sports!) officially around the corner. And although sales continue to struggle, that didn’t stop automakers from breathing new life into their lineups. The 2021 BMW 4 Series and Hyundai Santa Fe debuted, the Land Rover Defender went on sale, and Toyota added the sub-$40K RAV4 Prime PHEV to its roster.

But that’s not everything that was happening in the automotive space. 

Bollinger Motors Gains Patent for Full-Vehicle Passthrough

This week, Bollinger Motors, the electric-truck startup, was granted a patent for the exclusive “Frunkgate” and “Passthrough” features of its Bollinger B1 SUV and B2 pickup truck. You can see what that looks like above, looking forward from the rear of the Bollinger B2. 

Bollinger Frunkgate

The Frunkgate acts similar to a tailgate but it’s located in the front of the vehicle. Because EVs have no engine, it’s a clever design providing access to even more useable stowage space. Used in combination with the Passthrough, the pair of innovations provides 13 to 16 feet (depending on the model) of flat, uninterrupted space running down the center length of the vehicle. That’s measured with the Frunkgate and tailgate closed. Dropping the tailgate allows for even longer objects to be carried. 

So, if you ever wanted to haul that telephone pole but didn’t have the right non-commercial truck? Well, now you do.

Volkswagen Celebrates Its One-Millionth Build in Chattanooga

Volkswagen achieved a key milestone this week when its Chattanooga, Tennessee assembly plant built its one-millionth vehicle after about a decade of operation. As the location for North American market-designed Passat midsize vehicles, construction began in 2009 with the first vehicle rolling off the line in 2011. The celebratory vehicle was a 2020 Passat R-Line coated in Aurora Red Metallic.

Volkswagen Chattanooga also holds the distinction as the world’s first LEED-Platinum certified manufacturing facility. Today, in addition to the Passat, the factory builds the Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport. Further expansion of the facility is already underway to enable future manufacturing of electric vehicles (EVs) as part of an $800 million investment.

GM Working on New Electric Van Specifically for Delivery Business

With delivery vans even more ubiquitous since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, General Motors is adding its name to the list of manufacturers planning to produce EVs specifically for that segment. Although GM has announced plans to introduce at least 20 new EVs by 2023, a van was never specifically mentioned. 

Competitors already include Ford, Rivian (in which Ford is an investor), and other global startups. Code-named BV1, the all-electric van from GM will go into production in late 2021. It’s certainly a lucrative and growing business if the current traffic patterns of Amazon, FedEx, UPS, and other delivery services are any indication. 

Ford Set to Debut All-New Bronco and F-150 This Summer

Perhaps the cabin fever has finally set in. Or maybe it was the blurry photo leaks and endless speculation. Nevertheless, Ford will soon take the covers off the highly-anticipated 2021 Bronco and F-150.

Industry reports say June 25 will mark the redesigned F-150’s debut, which will include a hybrid and all-electric version. The workhorse is the best-selling vehicle in the country, offering an expansive range of powertrains and configurations. No details about what will carry over and what will be brand new are available, but we won’t have to wait long to find out.

The Bronco, which was originally scheduled to debut this spring, will make its official appearance in July. No specific date, time, or location was announced, but Ford’s dedicated website announces the Bronco’s world premiere in all caps. Designed and engineered to go head-to-head against the Jeep Wrangler, the Ford Bronco is expected in showrooms next year with a starting price of around $30,000.

CDC Suggests Returning Workers Avoid Mass Transit

As COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are loosened, social distancing may become more difficult. Or, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), probably impossible in major metropolitan areas. Case in point: New York City. 

The Big Apple will begin its first phase of reopening on June 8, with as many as 400,000 people heading to work for the first time in weeks. Naturally, most will head for the subway. The Metropolitan Transit Authority will be providing masks to riders who do not have one and will provide a multitude of hand sanitizer stations. But will that be enough?

The CDC says no and has gone so far as to recommend avoiding mass transit altogether. Transit authorities are understandably livid. The National Association of City Transportation Officials said the advice was not only misguided but unworkable for many cities. The MTA chief’s response? “Confounding.” In NYC, businesses have been asked to stagger employee hours to minimize crowds. 

Unfortunately, neither scenario offers a traffic-free, 100% coronavirus-protected way to commute, and things could be chaotic regardless of transportation option. Or, New Yorkers could chalk it up to it being just another Monday.

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