Riding into the future with UBCO and Farm Source

Riding into the future with UBCO and Farm Source

1 August 2021

Booking a cropping or pasture planning session, or spending $2,000 or more on seed/agchem and $5,000 or more on fertiliser with Farm Source, could see you benefit from battery power as each action puts you in the draw to win an electric UBCO 2X2 Work Bike valued at $7,499.*

Described as a “solid mud-ready workhorse”, the 2X2 Work Bike is designed for farm use and off-road adventure, all without the smoke, noise, chains, gears, clutch, and, most importantly, less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Swapping petrol for electricity reduces CO2 by 80%, with 60% less CO2 over the whole vehicle lifecycle.

There’s 50% less photochemical oxidation (smog) and 40% less cumulative energy demand. With these benefits to the environment, it’s another step farmers can take to improve their on-farm practices.

Like UBCO, the co-op prides itself on being continually innovative and adaptive in its mission to be sustainable in everything it does. Driven by the ‘Good Together’ philosophy, it’s helping to ensure we’re here for New Zealand for many generations to come.

Waikato-based farmer Grant Coombes shares that vision and considers himself a guardian of the land.

An early adopter of UBCO bikes, he’s been using a fleet of 2X2 Work Bikes for the past five years to get around his 350 hectares (ha) of land. He was attracted to them as a sustainable option when he was looking to replace his conventional two-wheel farm bikes.

“There’s no fuel on farm, no oil and no chains – a lot of that is really appealing.”

On top of this, the bikes’ SuperX Step Through Frame has a low centre of gravity, making it easy to mount and dismount, and making for a more stable ride.

Most importantly, Grant was impressed by the amount of power the UBCO bikes punch considering they are so light. He also named that weight, or lack of it, as an advantage in itself.

“The other appealing thing about the UBCOs is that they’re light and have a lot of torque down low, so we could get over land that we couldn’t with a standard two-wheeler or lift it out if it got stuck.”

“The guys love using them [UBCO] on the farm, they’re safe to drive, fun to ride and quiet around stock.”

The UBCO 2x2 Work Bike is available with a 2.1 kilowatt-hour (kWh) or 3.1kWh power supply. Those up for grabs through Farm Source come fitted with the 2.1kWh option, which, on average, need a top-up charge every two to three days based on farmers travelling an average of 20-25 kilometres (km) a day on farm.

UBCO has found most farmers top-up charge to prevent the battery ever going flat. This strategy works well for the high-capacity lithium-ion battery, which performs best between 20-80% charge for longevity.

Grant reports charging his UBCO bikes every three to four days giving each bike an energy cost of under 20 cents a day. “It makes for very efficient work,” he says.

The battery reduces the complexity of moving parts in the bike, improving safety and strength, all while reducing the maintenance for the farmer. That maintenance is further reduced through UBCO’s subscription model. Allowing farmers to pay a fixed monthly fee in exchange for the bike, power supply and servicing, UBCO retains ownership of it and responsibility for its end of life.

UBCO CEO Timothy Allan explains a bike may be in service for three to four years and during that time, UBCO tracks the bike and battery through built-in sensors to determine when it’s time for them to be reused in a lower intensity application – extending the lifespan until ultimately recycling everything possible.

“We are much better positioned to manage the end of life of the bike than a farmer or consumer,” Timothy says. “At the right time, we can bring the bike back and we are working towards getting them recycled back to the original source.”

In its product development, UBCO considers the entire value chain of a product – from the raw materials and energy used to create the product through to the packaging, distribution, use, maintenance, and eventually recycling, reuse, recovery or final disposal. That development doesn’t happen overnight, but with each new generation of bike, UBCO is getting closer to fulfilling its commitment to giving the bikes a good first life and then a good second life.

“We owe a huge debt to the early adopters and innovators who took the bikes on,” Timothy says. “We’ve worked hard to meet and exceed expectations over time and with the fifth generation, we are much closer to the end game. We believe that with every generation of bike going forward, we should produce a vehicle that goes further.”

To experience the benefits for yourself and your farm, make sure you’re in the draw to win.