The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), as part of its ongoing sustainability developments, has been trialling an all-electric motorcycle.
Lieutenant Colonel Brad Gallop, the land combat working group lead from the capability branch of the NZDF, said: “Electric vehicles are an emerging technology that we need to look at and to see how good it is and how applicable it is on the battlefield.
“The whole aim of the battlelab is not only to look at the capability of the bike itself but how it fits within the NZDF supply chain.”
New Zealand-based UBCO Bikes has supplied four specially built electric motorcycles, which are being assessed by the NZDF for use in reconnaissance, security, transport and surveillance roles.
Serviceability and charging issues are among those being studied but the electric motorcycles otherwise offer several key benefits – including a lack of exhaust, reduced heat signatures, quiet operation and no reliance on easily combustible fuel.
The UBCO 2X2 Utility Bikes have an electric motor in each wheel, weigh 65kg and can travel up to 120km on a single charge if regenerative braking is employed.
They are also simple to operate, limited to 50km/h and have onboard computers that log their usage.
UBCO Bikes, which is headquartered in Mount Maunganui, says that the motorcycles were originally designed for off-road and heavy-duty applications.
“The collaboration with the NZDF allows UBCO to rapidly learn how the 2X2 can operate across army, navy and airforce,” said Timothy Allan, CEO of UBCO.
“Globally, defence is a very controlled industry, so this collaboration is hugely valuable to learn quickly for UBCO.”