UBCO electric 2wd motorbikes undergo military testing

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Words: NZ Autocar
28 Jul 2020

New Zealand’s military is sampling local product, testing 2wd electric motorbikes produced by UBCO of Tauranga. It’s part of their mission to become more environmentally sustainable.

The New Zealand Defence Force has taken on four purpose-built 2x2 bikes as part of a trial that will involve general field work and security, amongst other things.

The bikes are specifically developed for a military purpose and at 65kg are much lighter than conventional motorcycles. They have an electric motor in each wheel, and feature regenerative braking so can travel up to 120km on a single battery charge.

Lieutenant Colonel Brad Gallop said they clearly ticked the box for environmental friendliness but he is keen to know how useful they are for carrying equipment that might be too much for a footsoldier to handle.

Other military advantages include their inherently quiet mode of operation, and the fact they don’t require flammable liquids as an energy source.

Moreover, they have limited maintenance requirements. The only downside is that they have a top speed of 50m/h. Perhaps that could be seen as an advantage.

The Navy, Army and Air Force will all trial the bikes over the course of a year. The testers have a camouflage colour scheme, obviously, along with extra battery packs, a trailer and an array of spare parts.

Test bikes are sourced from Tauranga-based UBCO, and the electric bikes were originally designed for Kiwi farmers. There are now urban 2wd bikes available, suitable for delivery work and general commuting purposes. Pricing starts at $7999, and a charger can be had for $379. There's also the FRX1 electric dirt bike, costing $9999.

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