Caring for people, place, and planet.
UBCO has a core commitment to improving the environmental, social and economic society we live in. With strong New Zealand roots, we are here for good. Built upon kaitiakitanga – care for people, place and planet, today and for future generations.
- No gas. No emissions. No noise.
- 80% less CO2 through adoption of EV’s vs petrol.
- 60% less CO2 over the whole vehicle lifecycle.
- 50% less photochemical oxidation (smog).
- 40% less cumulative energy demand.
We’ve done the maths (based on NZ figures). Our 2X2s are reducing emissions daily. And the more widespread the adoption, the more savings that can be made.
Electric vehicles like ours are inherently more sustainable than petrol equivalents during their in-use life. And while it’s awesome that our bikes don’t use petrol or produce emissions, we’ve made a commitment to do more. As a largely electronic product with a high capacity lithium-ion battery, we’ve defined end of life and product stewardship as the big sustainability issues we need to tackle head on.
Product design & material choices for end of life
We can do a lot to reduce the environmental impact of our products through thoughtful design. From understanding customer requirements to design for disassembly, Life Cycle Thinking is at the heart of our product development process.
Life Cycle Thinking means thinking about a product through its entire value chain – from the raw materials and the energy used to create the product, through to the packaging, distribution, use, maintenance, and eventually recycling, reuse, recovery or final disposal.
In each life cycle stage, there is the potential to reduce the environmental impact and improve the performance of our products.
Our aim is to increase product durability, life span and recyclability for each generation of product we produce. The following gains have been made with the release of the 5th generation 2X2 in 2020. And we are not stopping here!
GenX5 2X2 product design improvements
- 30% better battery cyclic longevity
- Improved design for disassembly
- Keyless ignition and fewer open ports reduce water ingress and opportunities for corrosion.
- 20% better motor efficiency
- Three-stage regenerative braking means longer time between charges, so less energy is required from the grid.
- The bike’s power supply can be charged via solar panels, with an off the shelf inverter and portable panels or a complete off-grid power supply.
- Strengthening of the bike frame was informed by chemical and welding analysis, microscopy, FEA, physical validation, and cyclic loading. The use case was validated by accelerated testing to achieve a lifespan that was a full weight (150kg) at a full discharge each day, 365 days a year, for 5 years. Ensuring our product is designed to last
- 100% recyclable cardboard packaging
- Online training for dealers and customers removes need for printed collateral
The full integration of vehicle, hardware, software, and communications has helped us unpick the traditional model of selling bikes to develop a new subscription model. This enables customers to pay a monthly subscription for the bike or battery, while we retain ownership and responsibility for the product and its end of life.
With this subscription model, a bike may be in service for 3-4 years. With our tech platform we can track the battery and bike over its life. It can then be reused in a subsequent life(s) for a lower intensity application, extending its life until we ultimately recycle everything we can. Our aim is to maximize the value of the materials for as long as possible. UBCO provides the reverse logistics and supply chain to complete the value recovery.
Currently, subscription is available for corporate fleet only with plans to expand in future.
For product stewardship to be truly affective an industry wide approach is needed. That is why we are working with others such as the Battery Industry Group which is creating a product stewardship scheme for large batteries. We have also partnered with Anthesis, the sustainability activator and the largest dedicated team of sustainability professionals in the world to drive further international expansion of electric transportation.
Into the future
As a design led organisation, we will never rest on our laurels. We’re always looking to be better and to do better. We can’t help it.