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UBCO’s European Expansion

By March 18, 2019 No Comments
Electric Wheels UBCO Europe

The UBCO 2×2 is making waves in Europe.

A new business, Electric Wheels, has been formed in the UK around the UBCO 2×2 ‘Workbike’.

Electric Wheels (EW) was established by good friends Chris Hurdle and Tony Abel. A total of 32 bikes have been shipped and had their Pre-Delivery Inspection completed by EW Technicians. The bikes have been branded using custom side fairings and their first rental missions are already underway.

Five of the bikes are also headed to Holland for van Laar Techniek, an Agricultural distributor who is expanding their trials of the UBCO 2×2 for the Dutch and Danish markets. Ron Van Laar, Managing Director has just completed a week-long visit with UBCO in Tauranga being trained across all areas of our operation.

“I first saw UBCO at the National Ploughing Championships in Ireland, and the idea really intrigued me,” explains Ron. “I returned home, and couldn’t stop thinking about the 2×2 and its potential here in Holland.”

“In Holland dairy farmers are not used to moving big numbers of cows around like New Zealand dairy farmers. Most of the cows are kept inside, with zero grazing. However, the big Dutch milk processors like Campina, who have an 80 % market share, are now paying 1.5 cents more per litre when the cows have been outside for at least 6 hours per day. This means that farmers will need a way to move their cows, and I think the 2×2 could really help.”

This progress is very timely with the completion of the NZTE market research for the EU by their Global Market Research Team (GMRT). This work defines the key markets of focus within the EU and will help provide some structure to our market entry.

The green shoots of Electric Wheels emerged sometime in 2016 when one of the founders was on a family visit to New Zealand. Outside an Auckland bike shop (specialising in e-bikes) was a truly amazing machine. Not a bicycle at all, but an electric, off-road ‘utility’ motorbike. On a subsequent visit and with the research having been done, the UBCO 2×2 was tracked down, ridden, purchased, and shipped – then put straight to work at Hampton Court Flower Show, where it quickly became an indispensable aid to the site crew. Since then, it has worked hard in other outdoor events and large construction sites.

Everywhere the bike worked, heads turned, and people wanted to borrow it.

Early in 2019, the first shipment of UBCO two-wheel drive machines arrived in the UK and Electric Wheels Hire Ltd was created. Electric Wheels aim is to grow their hire fleet by hiring electric vehicles out for a few days, a few months or a few years. Bikes leaving EW for hire will usually have been fully charged using their photo-voltaic facilities. In time, they hope to be able to deliver and collect using electric vehicles and achieve a zero-carbon footprint across the company.