Electric utility bikes to be rolled out in NZ


If Santa's stocking fillers left you feeling a little bit empty this year, then perhaps you can treat yourself to a gift.

A group of inventors in Tauranga are launching a new utility bike that they believe will change life for everyone from farmers to first responders.

It's an Ubco – possibly the farm bike of the future.

The frame is as light as a bicycle but it's powered by a rechargeable battery. It can handle rough terrain and it costs just 50 cents for every 100km of travel.

"We really want something that's bullet-proof, super useful and that will go the distance," says Timothy Allan, managing director of Tauranga's Locus Research.

The bike is not just an alternative mode of transport; it's also a powerful portable battery.

Mending fences, monitoring data or even messaging home to say you'll be late for lunch, the battery can power up around 30 portable drill packs and still get you back for tea, cutting down on fossil fuel and noise pollution as well.

The first 150 bikes will arrive in the country next month. And it's not just fancy farmers who will be queuing up to buy them. The easy-to-use bikes have been trialled by all sorts of people already.

"Like with St John, we had officers there who had never ridden a motorbike in their life just hopping on and towing a stretcher trailer around," says Anthony Clyde, who develops the bikes.

There's the potential for first responders to get to places that not even helicopters can reach and Mr Allan is already imagining more possibilities.

"You know, it's almost sort of like Lego, really. If you want to put a decal pack on it you could have like Police Lego or Space Lego," says Mr Allan.

And Mr Clyde agrees.

"You know I would happy that in 30 or 40 years' time it'll be, you know beaten up old Ubco frames, still just being updated," he says.

It's not just the flash new bike of the future but possibly the favourite old faithful too.

3 News