I would certainly be open minded about an electric tractor and for a small homestead I can imagine it working quite well since people would be using their tractors for minutes at a time instead of hours... However I'd put my 1960 massey 65 diesel up against ANY electric tractor any day for plowing a large field, bush hogging and mowing a large acreage, etc... they would need too many batteries or many days of work/charge to complete the task. I guess plowing is out of the question for true permacultures, and if you really do it "right" a bush hog would be illogical as well, so in the scope of this website and this particular type of 'farming' then electric tractors probably are winners. However, the nice thing about being a small scale farmer and owning a tractor is being able to work it for extra income on other folk's properties. Sounds very promising though, I'd love get the chance to play with one!
I'm certainly not bashing them for homeowner or small holdings though, sounds nifty as all heck. I would absolutely LOVE to see a new and innovative battery technology take over! That is really the only thing holding back current EV's from dominating the market.
regarding the card though, love the thought of the quiet!!! I have to wear hearing protection on all of our tractors if I'm really working them, even moderate noise for 8-10 hours really takes a toll!
Ajila Ama Farm Western North Carolina
I had missed pauls post of the tractor on 2-11-13 that is a fancy rig and 30 grand isn't bad at all. I still hold to my reservations about work time for the tractor, distance or not it would still suffer the same fate of electric cars as per "range", in this case one would have to really plan their activities rather than just working it and getting a can of fuel when you needed more. Looks like a fantastic option for a HUGE percentage of tractor owners though, maybe not ideal for my own uses but an amazing machine none the less!
One thing that really stuck out to me was the steering and gear shifting operations... while the steering will use power that could be better used powering the tractor itself, user fatigue looks to be greatly reduced! I'm not a fan of the switch for the steering, i would think an electronic steering wheel would be a little more user friendly (I understand why conventional steering isn't used here, no room for the shaft). I can imagine hitting bumps would make your hand on the switch tend to bounce around a bit and possibly make steering a little wild... Also around here, we use tractors on hills pretty often, I REALLY would need that steering wheel to keep myself upright and in position haha.
I have to say though, I'm impressed. Would LOVE to get a real world working time on that critter though! Like hitch up the mower or bush hog and run it till it dies... My only other concern is how many hours you get out of the battery packs before they need replaced, and cost of replacement? I bet it's not alot more when you consider just oil changes alone on a 'real' tractor though...
This is a GREAT thread, and even though I'm not interested in owning one myself (YET) I am definitely intrigued!
Ajila Ama Farm Western North Carolina
I have an Onan 5.0 KW CCK genset that I removed from my RV. This thing weighs 350 pounds and if I want to use it I will have to build a frame and wheel set up. I found a video on you tube with a small homebuilt tractor using a 1.5 hp electric motor and carrying the batteries to run it. I'm wondering if a skid steer loader could be made with two 2.5 hp treadmill motors and the genset to run them? I'll look for the video.
I worked on converting the three electric tractors at www.valleyoaktool.com. Check them out and let me know what you think of them.
The first was the Tuff-bilt, a tractor modeled after the Allis Chalmers G tractor. As far as I know about 100 Allis Chalmer G tractors have been converted to electric. I believe my Tuff-bilt is the 3 one converted. We have gone through 3 different iterations and modifications in how we designed and organized the battery tray and compacted the electronics. I leased this tractor to a local CSA for two years.
Next was the Farmall Cub with the original hood. We cut the bottom of the gas tank out and everything fit under the hood. We kept the manual lift arm assembly for that. So it can be done with our package. I was not that happy with making the tractor look like the gas version. Felt it was sort of like trying to make a Tesla fit inside the body of a Studebaker. So...
The third one, and the one we are offering as a production model features a removable battery tray and hood, with a hinged hood over the electronics. We replaced the hydraulic lift with a linear actuator. This is a pretty tractor. We completely dismantled, cleaned inspected, replaced worn parts and installed new seals and bearings on the original tractor and applied new paint,
The first two are the ones with the most field use and testing. They work great, and the electric motors have several advantages over the gas versions, including high torque at low speeds, quiet, no fumes to breath, and no toxic handling of fuels in the field.
Unlike the Allis Chalmers G tractors which have a reduction gear between the electric motor and the drive shaft, all three of these tractors are connected in-line directly. We have not seen any problems with doing this, and it conserves space in the placement and design of the converted tractors. Road speeds in high gear I would guess is around 16 to 18 miles per hour. You would not want to go faster. All field cultivation must be done in low gear for fuel use, battery and motor life.
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