New Zealand Army testing custom 2×2 electric motorbikes

NZ Army testing electric motorbikes

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is testing four custom-built 2×2 (all-wheel drive) electric motorbikes from NZ maker UBCO for reconnaissance and surveillance work.

The NZDF has commenced 12-month trials on four specially built 2×2 electric bikes from NZ-based maker UBCO. The aim is to explore the suitability of the silent-running bikes for reconnaissance and surveillance, airfield security and other transport roles.

Each bike from UBCO weighs 65kg which is lighter than the bikes normally used by NZDF, have a motor in each wheel (most e-motorbikes only have one motor) and no pedals, so they’re a full electric motorbike. With regenerative braking, the bikes have a range of up to 120km on a single charge. According to NZDF, the 12-month trial package includes a camouflage colour scheme, extra battery packs, a trailer and a range of spare parts.

“Obviously they are more environmentally friendly, and we will see if they are also more military friendly,” said Lieutenant Colonel Brad Gallop.

“We will see how good they are for carrying equipment where a soldier on foot might not be able to.

“Electric vehicles offer some advantages over normally 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.

“They will be limited to 50km/h and have lower training requirements to that of a motorcycle.”

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Isaac Bober has been writing about cars and 4x4s for more than 20 years, has worked on some of the country's biggest motoring magazines (remember what they were?), and launched Practical Motoring. Now he's back, back again... to share dad jokes and much more.

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