Mullen Automotive, a U.S.-based electric vehicle startup has acquired a controlling stake in fellow U.S. EV startup Bollinger Motors to expand its portfolio with Bollinger's commercial vehicles and enthusiast-oriented B1 and B2 off-roaders.

Mullen, which plans to market its own crossovers and sports cars, announced on Thursday the purchase of a 60% stake in Bollinger at a cost of $148.2 million in cash and stock. Bollinger's CEO and founder, Robert Bollinger, will remain CEO of his eponymous company to lead the team to production, Mullen said in its announcement. Bollinger's vehicles will also continue to be marketed under the Bollinger brand.

“This acquisition is one of the largest in the EV industry to date and provides Mullen with the unique opportunity to aggressively expand into the high-demand commercial EV space,” David Michery, Muller's CEO and chairman, said in a statement. “The strong interest shown by major customers in all the high-volume segments like delivery, telecom, municipal services, and utilities is a clear indication of the market’s desire for Bollinger’s vehicles.”

Bollinger was founded in 2015 and first made waves two years later when it presented the B1, a rugged electric SUV designed for off-roading and intended to be built on a bespoke class 3 truck chassis. A debut of the B2 pickup truck soon followed, which in turn was followed by the reveal of a van, as well as standalone chassis and chassis cabs designed for truck classes 4-6.

Bollinger B4 chassis cab

Bollinger B4 chassis cab

Despite a lot of buzz, including nearly 50,000 reservations coming in, Bollinger in January made the surprise announcement it was putting both the B1 and B2 on hold as it focused on its commercial vehicles. However, with the fresh funds brought in by Mullen's acquisitions, both vehicles are now back on the table, though timing is uncertain.

The first Bollinger to reach the market will be the B4 chassis cab, though timing for this vehicle also hasn't been announced. Mullen said the trucks will start testing with various fleet customers, upfitters, and charging companies this fall. The tests will be used to gather feedback ahead of the start of production.

Bollinger also planned to launch commercial vans, though those plans will be replaced by Mullen's own plans for commercial vans.

Other vehicles planned by Mullen include the Five crossover which was shown at the 2021 Los Angeles auto show, as well as a sports car called the Dragonfly, which is based on China's Qiantu K50 sports car. Mullen is also developing solid-state batteries that Bollinger will now have access to. However, it is still early days as Mullen has said it only plans to start testing its solid-state batteries on the road around 2025.