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Motorcycles The Disruptors: UBCONew Zealand startup UBCO has entered the electric motorcycle market with its two-wheel-drive motorbikes that aim to change the off-road experience.

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While the first electric vehicles were invented in late 1800s, it has been gas-powered vehicles that have ruled the roadways for over a century. But there is a growing movement determined to change that, and over the past two decades, electric vehicles have slowly slipped into the mainstream as the public’s impression of EVs has improved. People are now more aware of the effects of noise and exhaust pollution, and the cost of owning and operating a gas-powered vehicle is driving more traffic toward EVs. Technological advances, cost of operations, and other barriers to entry have been lowered, making it easier to enter the market; as a result, a handful of boutique motorbike and motorcycle companies have emerged. Each of the following seven companies present their own electric motorcycles and e-bikes with a unique approach, hoping to make a lasting impression on the personal mobility market.


Two-wheel-drive motorbikes will change the off-road experience.

UBCO is a New Zealand-based company producing a rugged, two-wheel-drive electric bike, initially designed for use by farmers, hunters, and outdoors people. Founded in 2015 by Daryl Neal and Anthony Clyde, UBCO is now looking to further develop its 2×2, which weighs only 144 pounds, has a top speed of 30 mph and a 75-mile range, and charges fully in six hours. The $6,999 price is a fair bit higher than similarly styled e-bikes of this size, but as of now none of those bikes offer two-wheel drive.

The utilitarian and versatile nature of UBCO’s 2×2 makes it appealing to a variety of people from different backgrounds and generations. Originally built as a functional rig for use in the field, the 2×2 has since found customers in van-lifers, conservationists, camera operators, and others who want a small, silent, sustainable motorbike that can go off-road. UBCO considers everyone a potential customer, especially those unfamiliar with two-wheel mobility. An electric bike is far less intimidating than an internal-combustion motorcycle, and given the speed at which electronics become outdated, UBCO plans to make their 2×2 e-bike easy to upgrade and update.


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