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Check out this solar-powered electric motorcycle-charging shipping container for eco-tourism

Electric motorcycles are already a great way to explore beautiful, scenic areas of nature without disturbing the land or other travelers. And now a new tour company in New Zealand has taken this form of eco-tourism to the next level, using UBCO’s 2X2 all-wheel-drive electric motorbikes and a solar charging base station.

Motubikes is an electric motorbike rental business that helps tourists explore the Great Barrier Island in a more sustainable way.

Great Barrier Island (known as Aotea in Māori), is an entirely off-grid island located a 3- to 4-hour boat ride or 30-minute flight from Auckland, New Zealand.

To operate its fleet of 9 UBCO 2X2 electric motorbikes on the Island, Motubikes has set up a solar-powered base station inside of a repurposed shipping container.

With 16 solar panels on the roof, the station can recharge all of the electric motorbikes and provide all other energy needs for the business.

The UBCO 2X2 motorbikes were chosen for their lack of emissions, as well as their large tires, dual suspension, and two-wheel drive traction.

Those features make the bikes perfectly suited for exploring the island’s narrow, winding roads and range of road surfaces and terrain.

Owner-operator Seagar Clarkson set up Motubikes at the beginning of this year and had originally intended for the company to service tourists from all over the world.

However, he has found that after COVID-19 closed off New Zealand to the rest of the world, local Kiwis are lining up to explore parts of their country they’ve never seen before.

motubikes ubco

Seagar explained in a statement provided to Electrek:

To be honest, I’m predicting that we’ll be fairly busy this summer. Great Barrier is on a lot of Kiwi’s bucket lists as a corner of this paradise they haven’t been to yet. And with restricted travel, the island will be very appealing — beautiful beaches, forest, and oceans makes this a pretty special island getaway. All that’s needed is a sense of adventure.


Electrek’s Take

Alright, where the heck do I sign up?

I know they’re targeting Kiwis right now due to its closed borders and the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on international tourism, but I really want to try this!

Sure, the UBCO 2X2 is an awesome bike by itself, but half of me wants to do this just to check out that epic solar setup in a repurposed shipping container.

I’ll be the next one in line to book a day rental! As soon as I figure out how to find a cheap ticket to New Zealand — and it opens its borders.

In the meantime, I think this could be an awesome model that could replicated elsewhere in the world. It doesn’t necessarily have to be just for off-grid islands, but that’s certainly a great place to start.

What do you guys think? Would you want to do a scenic electric motorbike tour, knowing you’re riding purely on solar-generated electricity? Let us know in the comment section below!

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Avatar for Micah Toll Micah Toll

Micah Toll is a personal electric vehicle enthusiast, battery nerd and author of the Amazon #1 bestselling books DIY Lithium Batteries, DIY Solar Power and the Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide.

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