Bollinger's CHASS-E and the steps towards an electric-RV

in #stem3 months ago

Electric vehicles aren't just for work anymore

I have been interested in electric vehicles (EVs) for a long time, but have never really had the resources nor the desire to buy one, yet. The main issue is that the range and capabilities of the EVs were limited in what I wanted to do with my everyday and everything vehicle. Currently, I have a Jeep Grand Cherokee, which I bought for the purpose of towing my travel camper. Before I bought this Jeep, I looked into what I would need for basic towing capabilities on an average 16 foot camper. I didn't want a 5th wheel camper nor something too small as to not fit my needs. With that, I needed something that could tow at least 5,000 lbs, which would be more than enough to tow the camper.

At the time, that ruled out all EVs.

Fast forward to 2021 and we have electric-hybrid trucks and all electric vehicles from Hummer, of all brands. What a world we live in today.

It was only a couple of years ago that I was questioning the usability of Bollinger Motor's truck. Back in 2019, there were several startup companies announcing their all-electric truck concepts. Of these, only Bolllinger Motor's had a design that really peaked my interest. It was a 4-door, open bed, highly modifiable truck with the possibility of sliding long objects from front to tail, because there's no engine stopping access. The engine was built into the floor to keep things flat and to open up configuration possibilities. Also, it looked similar to the Jeep Gladiator, which I was interested in buying.

Now, Bollinger Motor's has announced their CHASS-E (Get it?, Chassis sounds like it ends with an 'e') for use for work vehicles.


Bollinger Motor's knows that the future growth in electric vehicles in commercial. Amazon is touting that they have order thousands of electric vans to replace their fleet. Other companies have shown off self-driving semi-trucks and basically, how things are going, commercial vehicles are going to be the majority of the vehicles on the road in the future.

Bollinger Motor's Class 3 chassis (Semi-integral frame) cab comes in rear-wheel drive (RWD), all-wheel drive (AWD) and duel rear-wheel drive (DRW). The DRW configuration is what puts it square in the commercial vehicle market. If they can snatch up market of the people that require a truck that needs that sort of pulling power, then they will be on their way to being a very successful company. To visualize what the possibilities are, they even added possible mock-ups to their website.


But, I didn't need a mock-up to immediately see the benefit of a Class 3 chassis system. And I tweeted back to Bollinger Motors and included Winnebago along with my comment.


Having looked into motor-homes / recreational vehicles before ending with a trailer camper purchase, I knew that most B and C class motor-homes were made from truck and van chassis conversions. Even some Class A used van chassis back in the 1970s. So, I could see the potential right away with a Class 3 chassis.


As you can see on this C-Class Jayco, the van portion with the engine looks like they cut off the front end of the van and slapped it on to the motor-home. And, that's basically what a chassis is, a engine, transmission, drive-train platform that you stack whatever you want on top of.

On top of the configuration possibilities that are comparable to gas-engine vehicles, the CHASS-E opens up endless length possibilities. The one thing that EVs does that will bring down prices is remove parts. First, the engine moving parts are removed, which reduces complexity. The initial focus was to just replace the gas engine with the electric engine in the same location. For hybrid-electric vehicles, keeping the engine pay made sense and this configuration continued. However, there has been research into putting the engine inside of the wheel. While that might add complexity, it also reduces even more moving parts. No more need for a transmission and drive-train to power the rear, when each wheel has the power to turn by itself.

However, that's not where Bollinger Motor's went, instead they wanted to keep the proven benefit of a solid axle to drive the wheels. While it might seem like that would limit the usefulness of the CHASS-E, it does not. Because the CHASS-E doesn't have a drive-train.


There is no solid connection between the front and the rear of the chassis. This means that, as long as the frame is strong, the length of the vehicle is not determined. The CHASS-E could be used for small Class B motor-homes up to the biggest possible Class-A. And while motor homes are limited to slide-outs from the side of the motor-home, a CHASS-E could possibly have a "slide-back" feature, which would lengthen the motor-home to give need space inside. If you have ever been in a motor-home with a rear bed, you know that the space around and in-front of the bed is very limited. But, if you could park the motor-home and slide-back the rear to open floor-space, you would be opening up a more luxurious master bedroom. And because the drive-train isn't going to block access below the floor of the motor-home, that opens up storage possibilities for water tanks and dry storage. The longer the motor-home frame, the more batteries could be added which would also increase the range of the motor-home.

Bollinger Motors already states that more range can be added to their truck line. My 2019 Twitter thread pointed out that 200 miles was not nearly enough for the ultimate usage, which is a cross country trip of over 500 miles in a single day. It would be important to make that range without the need of an hour or more break to recharge the batteries. Having more battery storage may reach that goal, but batteries are heavy, so there must be some sort of balance weighed between range and efficiency.


Right now, $170k for a motor-home is way beyond the current price of Class B and Class C combustion engine motor-homes. I am sure someone could take a DRW CHASS-E and slap on an old Class B or Class A motor-home coach, but they are still shelling out what is close to the cost of a new Class B. But, as with all technology, as the early adopters buy them up, the price goes down. Maybe, in the not so distant future, there will be affordable motor-homes that get more than 200 miles to a charge, which will open up remote-work/travel to everyone.


Let the positive energy sing!

More Power to the Minnows!!

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If i was making a electric drive motorhome, i would never use a truck chassis.
Without the engine and drive train a much better and lower motorhome could be built.
Basically just build a steel truss box, attach wheels.

Further, Bollinger is missing one of the most important things for electric vehicles.
Short run hauling / deliveries.

The big thing is that the owner has an industrial building with large transformers where the fleet can be charged overnight.

And the savings is that the owner saves on maintenance costs involved with gasoline engines.

How much lower of an engine do you need than flat with the axle?

Bollinger has other vehicle platforms. I'm guessing the DELIVER-E platform is what you are looking for.

without an engine and an axle, the motorhome could be at such a height where you don't needs steps to enter.
The frame height of the pickup is because of where the axel, differential and drive shaft have to go.

With electric motors, you do not need to take any of that into account. (of course, other constraints come into things.)

I will have to disagree with you, seeing plenty of air lowering suspensions that take the car with a full drive-train all the way to the ground.

The in-wheel electric motors are probably what you would look for, but you still need a frame to build the coach on. And, I bet there are disadvantages to not having connected wheels.

Awesome truck.

Would take a couple of Bitcoin to buy one.

Will be able to buy one with 1/10 of a Bitcoin some day