Revving Up Sustainability: Kowanyama Rangers’ Electric Motorbike Initiative

Sep 18, 2023

In a significant shift towards sustainability and efficiency, the Kowanyama Land & Sea Rangers have acquired four electric motorbikes. The recent addition signifies a substantial step in their dedication to environmental care and the enhancement of coastal patrols.

Funded through the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry‚Äôs Top Watch program, these cutting-edge electric motorbikes are set to transform the Rangers’ coastal operations. Safeguarding the 50 kilometres of Gulf frontage that surrounds Kowanyama, the Rangers will utilise these electric motorbikes for beach and foreshore inspections, targeting ghost nets, marine debris, turtle nesting sites, and addressing illegal activities.

Senior Ranger Darby Horace explains, “We’re in the testing phase now, but our vision is clear. Loading our barge with the four electric motorbikes and deploying our survey team on another vessel, we’ll patrol the coastline with precision. Two Rangers will head north, and two will head south, conducting thorough inspections before regrouping at designated points. This promises to be an efficient way to manage our coastal patrols.”

These electric motorbikes, supplied by the New Zealand-based company UBCO, are engineered for rugged utility applications. With a remarkable capacity to carry 150kg with cargo racks mounted at the front and back, they allow the Rangers to transport equipment and collected debris with ease. Featuring a 60-120km range and a top speed of 50km/h depending on conditions, these electric motorbikes are perfectly tailored to the coastal terrain.

Acting Senior Ranger Brayden Collins attests, “These electric motorbikes have exceeded our expectations. Navigating sandy stretches requires effort, but the two-wheel drive system is nothing short of incredible.”

For Kowanyama, sustainability is a guiding principle. While capability, safety, and maintenance were paramount in the selection process, the environmental impact reduction offered by UBCO electric motorbikes is a welcomed bonus. CEO Kevin Bell remarks, “Diesel and petrol motors have their place, but we recognize their carbon footprint. Exploring electric vehicles aligns with our vision of a cleaner, greener future.”

Brian Wilson, head of UBCO operations in Australia, personally delivered the electric motorbikes to Kowanyama. The Rangers received training in routine maintenance and component replacement, ensuring self-sufficiency in keeping their bikes in top condition.

Brian Wilson expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “I’m thrilled to see the electric motorbikes being put to such important work, and to meet the Ranger team who would keep the bikes running for years to come.”

The electric motorbikes bring an unexpected advantage – their stealthy, quiet operation. This attribute greatly aids wildlife patrols compared to traditional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) options.

Council’s foray into battery-powered vehicles with the UBCO electric motorbikes is just the beginning. Over a three-year lifecycle, they’ll evaluate performance and consider potential fleet replacements and expansions based on funding availability. This shift towards electric platforms gradually aligns with their vision for a sustainable future.