UBCO offers a compelling opportunity for farmers to dramatically reduce both their long-term fleet costs and carbon emissions by adopting lightweight electric vehicles.
We are living in uncertain times — and nowhere is this more apparent than in the agricultural sector. Regardless of size, sector, and location, rising costs are a challenge across dairy, dry stock, horticulture, viticulture, and crop production. At the same time, at home and around the world, farmers are already being disproportionately affected by climate shifts beyond their control.
As a result, those who make their livelihood in the farming industry are often put in a difficult bind, where the choice between reducing their operation’s carbon emissions and keeping operational costs in check can become a necessary trade-off, or even mutually exclusive. However, both climate and cost are fundamental drivers for all agricultural businesses, particularly in an inflationary environment where rising oil prices and carbon tariffs are pushing everyday operational costs ever higher, particularly for fuel and vehicle servicing.
These two issues are at the heart of UBCO’s mission. In 2014, we designed our first prototype for a high-efficiency electric utility bike on a New Zealand farm, with the rugged terrain around us as our testing ground.
Now in its fifth generation, our 2x2 bike has evolved into a smart platform that combines software, hardware, and a global community — but it has also remained true to our original purpose: to create off-road utility vehicles that are highly fuel- and cost-efficient, with low environmental impact.
With that in mind, we worked with independent carbon-measurement specialists The Lever Room to find out exactly how our bikes measure up against comparable vehicles —and the results were, to put it mildly, compelling.
“We did extensive research into the fuel economy and GHG emissions for these vehicles,” says Rebecca Mills, the Lever Room’s managing director. “This included modelling different use cases, both on- and off-road, effectively creating a carbon model for UBCO — a robust methodology to compare the performance of different vehicles across the same conditions.”
Compared over 50,000 km with diesel, petrol, and hybrid-powered cars, gas-powered mopeds, and electric cars, the UBCO 2x2 bike offers an extraordinary reduction of up to 97% in carbon impact, and up to 97% in operational costs. These savings, combined with the reduction in servicing costs (the result of an advanced design with fewer moving parts), means that each vehicle will pay for itself in operational savings alone multiple times during its lifetime when compared to alternative forms of on-farm transport.
When we compared it to the most common conventional two-wheeled motorcycles used on New Zealand farms, the carbon emission and operational cost reductions were more than 90%. However, when we added the standard ICE quad bike widely used on farms, ranches, and conservation programmes to our calculation model, things got really interesting.
Exchanging a quad bike for an UBCO utility vehicle will reduce carbon emissions by 99%, and fuel costs by 98%.
In real figures, the operational cost of a single quad bike over 50,000 kms or 5 years is approximately $20,000. In stark contrast, the operational cost of an UBCO 3.1kw remains just under $300 over the same number of kilometres. Extrapolated across a fleet of vehicles, this efficiency and impact becomes multiplied.
Quad Bike Comparison
Farm Motorbike Comparison
“UBCO delivers unprecedented carbon and fuel savings compared with traditional combustion-engine farm bikes and quad bikes. It’s a farm-tested product that’s lightweight, tough, and designed for a wide variety of agricultural applications,” says Grant Payton, UBCO’s vice-president of business development and agriculture.
“Given the urgency of the climate crisis, any innovation that can immediately be implemented into our existing ways of working and living is very significant,” says Rebecca Mills.
“UBCO has created a solution that can replace something that already exists with something better: a lightweight and extremely robust utility vehicle that also offers operational and carbon efficiency that vastly outstrips every other comparable vehicle on the market today. UBCO has proved it’s not necessary to create a whole new system from scratch to have a measurable impact for farmers, the land users who are feeling the immediate effects —and bearing the immediate costs— of our rapidly changing world.”