Green light: UBCO partners with Carbn Group to expand vehicle subscription model
Thanks to funding from government-backed Carbn Group, Kiwi eco-tech pioneer UBCO is gearing up for widespread adoption of its utility electric bikes across New Zealand farms, businesses and households.
Carbn Group, with investment from New Zealand Green Investment Finance Ltd (NZGIF – also known as the ‘Green Fund’), a crown-owned company established to accelerate low emissions investment in New Zealand, has partnered with Tauranga headquartered UBCO to provide asset finance for a new subscription service model.
The duo’s vision is to eventually have an UBCO electric utility vehicle on every farm in the country, which represent a $1.4 billion per year opportunity for the global company.
“After introducing the subscription model to the urban environment with our partnership with Domino’s, it made sense to extend this to the agricultural sector which is where our business was built,” says UBCO CEO, Timothy Allan.
“This coincides with the introduction of the off-road 2×2 Work Bike and now with the backing of a finance partner that is dedicated to the transition away from carbon fuels, the offer makes sense for farms’ cashflow and planning.”
The company’s subscription model means businesses and consumers can pay a fixed monthly fee covering the bike, battery and servicing, while UBCO retains ownership of the product.
Subscriptions mean low upfront costs, and include servicing and maintenance, so there are no unplanned payments.
“It’s basically a no hassle way of running a bike or a fleet of bikes. And the bikes are a more sustainable transport option, both during use and at the end of life” says Allan.
Almost 50 per cent of UBCO sales historically have been from the agricultural sector. Latest data shows there are 175,000 registered motorbikes in New Zealand, with the unregistered market operating primarily on farmland estimated at over double that. Based on New Zealand’s energy profile, the UBCO 2X2 has 80 per cent less CO2 emissions than petrol vehicles during life and removes all particulate emissions during use.
Allan says that the Carbn and Green Fund deal will help large-scale farming operations that are committed to carbon reduction lead the way in sustainable practice.
“An UBCO on every farm in NZ would make a significant improvement to the carbon footprint and subscription opens the opportunity for wider spread ownership.”
UBCO, which operates in Australasia, Europe and the United States, is among a growing cohort of vehicle designers adopting low emissions transport technology. Allan says the team are thrilled to be leading the charge from Aotearoa in a matter of global importance.
“Our funding from Carbn Group to expand our vehicle subscription model is critical and comes at a time when interest in carbon emissions is at an all-time high.”