EV startup Bollinger acquired by Mullen Automotive for $148.2 million

Mullen Automotive has acquired a controlling stake in electric vehicle startup Bollinger Motors, buying up 60 percent of the struggling company’s stock for $148.2 million, the companies announced Thursday.

Mullen said it will add Bollinger-designed medium-duty trucks and sport utility trucks to its inventory. The deal “positions Bollinger to capture the electric sport utility and commercial vehicle markets,” the company added.

Mullen is a relatively unknown Southern California electric vehicle manufacturer with the stated goal to build “the next-generation of premium electric vehicles that are affordable and built entirely in the United States.”

Bollinger burst onto the scene in 2015 with a pair of very cool-looking, rugged, box-like electric truck prototypes. The company has since pivoted to electric commercial vehicles after running into speed bumps in its quest to build a complex vehicle manufacturing business from scratch.

Earlier this year, Bollinger announced it selected Detroit auto supplier Roush as a contract manufacturer to assemble its line of platforms and chassis cabs for electric commercial vehicles.

One such vehicle was the Deliver-E electric van, which was revealed in 2020, and was slated to be built on a variable vehicle platform that allows for multiple battery sizes. Bollinger later clarified that it does not intend to build the van, but used it as an “interpretation” of the kind of vehicle body that could be built on its electric platforms.

The Bollinger B2 electric truck.
Image: Bollinger

But it was the company’s B1 and B2 electric trucks that first captured people’s imaginations. Those vehicles were put on pause in favor of the commercial vehicles — but Mullen says that, with today’s deal, the trucks are back on.

“With years of history in class 3 truck development, intellectual property, patents, and expertise, [Bollinger’s] decision made sense to pivot into commercial vehicle development for classes 3-6,” Mullen said in a release. “As part of the acquisition, the company brings Mullen nearly 50,000 reservations previously taken for the B1 and B2 sport utility vehicles. With Mullen’s acquisition and capital injection, both B1 and B2 programs will begin after the start of production for class 3-6 commercial truck programs.”

While there has been a wave of acquisitions in recent years of autonomous vehicle startups, there has been less consolidation on the EV side. But experts predict this will soon change, with small EV startups seeking out larger companies for cash infusions into their struggling operations.

Update September 8th, 11:52AM ET: Updated to clarify that Bollinger does not intend to build the Deliver-E van.