Electric vehicles find more and more real-world applications as the developing technology behind it develops. A New Zealand startup UBCO has ambitions to upgrade upon the off-road niche.
The innovative company recently set sail to the European market after its success in New Zealand and Australia. And now, they are subject to trials with the New Zealand Defence Forces (NZDF). Their all-wheel model UBCO 2X2 might find a place in the NZDF for tactical use.
Over several years, the company found uses in different offroad settings ranging from pest control, hunting, agriculture, conservation, and tourism. Now, the company set its aim at military use.
NZDF has a vision to become more sustainable, reflected in their framework Tuku Iho, which roughly means "hand down", hinting at "handing back something you were given in a better condition than you received".
Lieutenant Colonel Brad Gallop explains it nicely as: “I think technology has changed dramatically over the last five years; we need to look at alternative sources. EV is an emerging technology that we need to look at and to see how applicable it is on the battlefield."
NZDF is doing a detailed evaluation of EV bikes as patrol vehicles, particularly reconnaissance and surveillance tools.
Hayden Robinson, who is the Joint Experimentation Manager for the Land Capability Branch of the NZDF also adds: “Electric vehicles offer some advantages over fueled vehicles. They are quiet, don’t give off exhaust or heat, and aren’t powered by highly flammable liquids. They are simple to maintain and onboard computers will be able to record a range of information about how the bike is used.”
Specs of the 2X2
The bike itself is 143.3 pounds (65 kgs) and can carry 330 pounds (150 kgs) including the rider. It takes 6 to 8 hours to charge the battery packs fully and the cost is about $1 per 100% charge.
It has two 1 kW motors and a 52.2Ah, 50V battery pack. With these specs, the maximum range is 75 miles (120 km) but, of course, the actual range will vary depending on load and terrain. The top speed of the 2X2 is 30 mph (50 kph).