Everyone is jumping on the electric bike bandwagon, but Kiwi company UBCO has taken on new territory with their on and offroad utility electric motorbike.
Co-founders Daryl Neal and Anthony Clyde first launched an off-road UBCO electric utility vehicle at Mystery Creek in 2014. After winning the Fieldays Innovation award, the awards convener, Timothy Allan, saw that it was an idea that could go places. In 2016, he came on board as the CEO to co-found the UBCO brand and help evolve the product. Today UBCO is an off-and on-road, digitally connected superbike that has a 48Ah lithium-ion portage battery system that not only fuels the vehicle but powers your tools – from your phone to your drill – at the same time.
Challenges aplenty as the electric motorbike takes off
When he came on board as UBCO’s CEO, Tim Allan specifically wanted a challenge and something that would push him. He got that – and more. The 2x2 electric vehicles are made using a huge variety of international technology which throws up problems of all kinds.
“We’ve had to be fiercely independent in our thinking and mentally tough.” – Tim Allan, Co-founder
He says his team’s creativity and the way they solve problems with integrity and originality makes him proudest and helps to keep him motivated. He says they’ve had to do more with less than a lot of companies our size. “The team you have is everything. They’re what can save you when you need it most” he says.
Family and work: a two-way street
Tim says he finds it tough to balance his family life with the heavy commitments of work and wouldn’t be able to do it without his a “wonderful wife and two great kids” who give him lots of strength. The company might take a toll on his time, but Tim reckons having parents in business is good for the kids and teaches them they can cut their own path in life.
Kiwibank: the bank for start-ups
Tim was referred to Kiwibank by a company he was working with and found they had a can-do attitude towards start-ups. That immediately appealed.
He believes the banking relationship has been and continues to be important to UBCO’s success. He describes Kiwibank Business Manager Nick Hosking as a “great help” who actively participates in the UBCO journey.
“It’s great to be taking a Kiwi innovation to the world, backed by a real Kiwi bank” says Tim.
No sign of slowing down
The company continues to grow well and is now in three markets including the US and Australia, with strong distribution through a network of dealers. Tim’s goal is to keep UBCO charging along and delivering the best vehicle of its class in the world.