NZDF trials UBCO 2x2 electric bikes for military use

The military are putting UBCO 2x2 electric utility bikes through their paces in some of New Zealand's toughest terrain and conditions

The New Zealand designed UBCO 2x2 electric utility bike is being put through more rigorous testing than usual, with the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) running battle-lab experiments using a fleet of the bikes.


The bikes, along with portable power and accessories, are being used in reconnaissance, surveillance, and other applications. Branches of the NZ Defence Force are each trialling the fleet under various simulations to assess the vehicles. 

With UBCO 2x2s gaining popularity across a number of applications from food delivery (e.g.: Domino's) to tourism (e.g.: Motubikes) as well as on farms, they are also proving popular for recreation and commuting ­–  anywhere that utility and all-terrain performance are important. 

Now the military are putting these electric utility bikes through their paces in some of New Zealand's toughest terrain and conditions.

The trial is part of the Defence Force’s wider programme towards a more sustainable operation, which also fits with the Government’s goal of having 64,000 EVs on New Zealand roads by the end of next year.

LtCol Brad Gallop, land combat group lead, capability branch, NZDF, says, "There have been dramatic changes in technology over the last few years with electric vehicles a key emerging technology that the NZDF has been monitoring. After investigating a range of options, the NZDF selected UBCO for a trial in 2020."

The Defence Force sustainable framework of Tuku Iho ("to pass on what you’ve received in at least as good as, if not better than, what you receive it in") aims to enhance and protect the Defence estate’s natural, financial, manufactured, intellectual, social, and human capital.


LtCol Brad Gallop talks about the programme and how it fits into NZDF:

"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’s on the battlefield.

"We’re doing a detailed evaluation of EV Bikes. We’re looking for an alternate energy patrol bike, particularly for reconnaissance and surveillance but it has many other applications. I think this is about understanding emerging technologies and where it fits in the NZDF construct.

"I was talking to the team around what emerging technology we can take a look at. Our location in the world means that we have to come up with quite adaptive technologies."

UBCO developed its electric utility vehicle and portable power platform originally for off-road use and has certified it for dual purpose (on-road) use globally in a wide range of high duty applications.

"The collaboration with the NZDF allows UBCO to rapidly learn how the 2X2 can operate across Army, Navy, and Airforce. Globally, defence is a very controlled industry, so this collaboration is hugely valuable to learn quickly for UBCO" says Timothy Allan, CEO of UBCO.

Hayden Robinson, joint experimentation manager – land capability branch, NZDF, says "Electric vehicles offer some advantages over fuelled 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."

The aim of the evaluation is not only to look at the capability of the bike itself but also how it fits in the NZDF operations. Both NZDF and UBCO are keen to understand the potential of the bikes, both on and off the battlefield.

Read Farm Trader's review of the UBCO 2x2 electric bike

Find farm machinery for sale in NZ


Keep up to date in the industry by signing up to Farm Trader's free newsletter or liking us on Facebook