UBCO 2×2 is an electric motorcycle which will be used for reconnaissance and surveillance missions by the New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF). It looks like the army considers the e-bike suitable for military use due to the electric motorcycle‘s swappable battery pack, accessory mounting points, and nonetheless that it’s silent compared to a petrol-engined motorcycle.
UBCO may not be a very familiar name when we look at motorcycles, but the New Zeeland company was founded back in 2015 and started to develop Utility Electric Vehicles (UEV). UBCO 2×2 was launched on the motorcycle marked just a few years ago as a lightweight and multi-purpose electric motorcycle. Now, it seems that the e-bike has another task to fulfil – military use.
The New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF) is putting the UBCO 2×2 through its paces to see how capable the electric motorcycle is to carry out reconnaissance and surveillance missions throughout the country’s most rugged and hostile terrains.
UBCO 2×2 is powered by two 1 kW hub-drive motors which split the power (3.2 hp) equally between the front and rear wheels. the Maximum torque level is set at 66 lb-ft (90 Nm) and the top speed is 30 mph (50 kph). Also, the power units are mounted inside the wheels while the lightweight SuperX frame holds a swappable and portable 48Ah, 50V Lithium-ion battery. It’s multipurpose and it can charge the rider’s devices and tools. Charging time (if the rider, in this case, soldier, is not swapping batteries) takes between six and eight hours while the mileage sits at 78 miles (120 km). Also, due to the battery pack being fitted on the lower side of the frame, it offers the electric motorcycle a low center of gravity, more balance and stability which comes in handy as an electric military motorcycle.
Suspension wise UBCO 2×2 is fitted with a built in house ATFZ fork with 130mm travel and on the rear, the electric motorcycle is equipped with two UBCO ATR shocks which offer 120mm of travel. Moreover, the fork and dual shocks are adjustable for preload, compression and rebound. The braking system is provided by bicycle-spec Tektro Dorado front and rear brakes, 203 x 2.3mm rotors, with hydraulic calipers.
UBCO claims that the dual electric drive features no clutch, transmission or emissions, very low maintenance and the electric motorcycle requires no oil changes or engine specific replacements. The curb weight is 144 pounds (65 kg) while the carrying capacity including the rider sits at 330 pounds (150kg).
Power, torque, or top speed may not be the electric motorcycle’s strong points, but as for its military purpose, it doesn’t need to be powerful or fast. Other advantages the UBCO 2×2 has compared to petrol-engined motorcycles is that it doesn’t give off exhaust or heat and it isn’t powered by flammable liquids. Plus, the onboard computers can track a lot of information on how the electric motorcycle is being used and there’s also an app which can be downloaded to turn the rider’s smartphone into a dashboard.
It seems that the New Zealand Defense Force is looking at electric motorcycles which are an emerging technology to see how it’s applicable on the battlefield. The UBCO 2×2 costs €6,999, and the company offers for that price tag a warranty of three years for the frame, two for the battery and motor, and six months for the parts and components.