BY JESSICA RIDGWAY
Company: Works Electric
Product: Electric Transportation
CEO: Brad Baker
Launched: July 2013
Brad Baker, CEO and co-founder of Works Electric, is a good husband. His wife, an OHSU employee, sought a more efficient way to commute up Marquam “Pill” Hill, so she asked Baker to build a transportation solution. It needed “to fit in a house and be safe, but also be powerful enough and sturdy enough to do the duty every day,” says 32-year-old Baker, a former engineer at General Motors. Thus was born the Rover, a portable electric scooter that is “pretty sweet looking,” Baker says, “something I wouldn’t be self-conscious riding.”
Funded out of pocket, Works Electric now manufactures electric scooters and customizable motorcycles at its Portland workshop. “I work closely with the customers,” Baker says. “They tell me how powerful they want the [motorcycle] to be, how fast they want it to go and what they want it to look like, and we do it.”
The company launched at a propitious time. “There has been extreme growth in the adoption of e-bikes recently,” says Baker, who so far has sold more than 30 scooters. But the product isn’t cheap; the Rover costs $4,950, and the Rover BR, with a few more bells and whistles, has a base price of $5,750. “We really have to put a lot of work into changing people’s habits and getting them to commit to something like this,” Baker says.
What’s next? Works Electric is targeting commercial activity: tourist resorts, rental businesses and private security agencies. The company also plans to release two new models this summer: a light, off-road version and one for “repeated heavy use,” Baker says.
“I can sit in my shop, my cave, and work on ideas, come up with new stuff and have fun with it, and that’s fine and dandy. I’ve always enjoyed it. But starting [Works Electric] takes that stuff that’s in my mind and puts it out into the world. I really like affecting the arc of people’s lives and positively impacting them.”
The current models weigh less than 100 pounds and are charged using a standard wall plug. The Rover has a range of 18 miles on a single charge and reaches a top speed of 28 mph; the Rover BR can travel 25 miles and can go as fast as 35 miles per hour.