Ross Mathews with one of the wooden electric scooters he is manufacturing. Photo: Simon Bloomberg.

Greenie designs ‘sustainable scooter’


Nelson’s Ross Mathews is a joiner and a greenie, so it made sense that when he decided to design and build a motorised scooter it would be powered by electricity and made from wood.

And now the eco-friendly design seems to be catching on with Ross receiving a lot of interest in the custom-made scooters which he has just started producing in his workshop in Nelson. Ross has only made “just over a dozen” of the Spectrum Scooters and has already sold half of those, mostly to buyers in the North Island.

“I used to ride motorbikes so I’ve always been interested in that sort of thing, so I decided to design a scooter that fitted with a sustainable theme. I make the frame out of imported plywood that comes from sustainable forests and it’s powered by a lithium ion battery which last about two hours and recharges in four.”

Ross says he buys the bike parts, such as wheels and brakes from Village Cycles, as well as the electrical components but makes the rest himself. It takes around three days to produce a scooter which with the battery which is carried in a small back pack weighs 19kg.

Ross says the bikes have a top speed of just over 20 kilometres an hour and are classed as a two-wheeled recreational device so can be ridden either on the footpath or road. Riders are not required to wear a helmet.  “Some people think that 20 kilometres an hour isn’t very fast but it’s fast enough on a scooter. It’s ideal for commuting on the cycleways around Nelson and you can also fold it up so you can put it in the boot of your car and take it anywhere,” Ross says.

Ross also makes the scooter without the electric motor that can be used as a kick bike.  The electric scooter costs $1699 while the unmotorised version costs $499.