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podcast 143: Steve Heckeroth Electric Tractors Part 1

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Paul Wheaton and Steve Heckeroth talking about Steve's electric tractor and all sorts of electric/energy stuff.

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Solar Electric Tractor Model 12 - Steve Heckeroth

Steve Heckeroth shows his Model 12 electric tractor. This one is 20 horsepower, although since it is electric it has power comparable to a 40 hp diesel or a 60hp gasoline tractor. Steve explains how this has to do with torque peak performance of the electric motors being so much better than gas or diesel.

In this video we see the loader in action. The three point hitch and the PTO (power take off). We move some bales of straw and do a little bushhogging.

One problem with electric cars is range from the charging station. But an electric tractor rarely strays far from its charging station.

Another problem with electric tractors is battery weight. But with an electric tractor, the extra battery weight gives better traction!

This electric tractor is solar powered. The whole homestead is solar powered! And Steve has a solar electric car too!

Steve talks about using hydraulic pumps for things like the load vs. linear actuators.

Steve mentions the porsche spider he once converted to an electric car.

The solar electric tractor is labeled SolTrac and Steve says that he is changing the name to SolecTrac.

We see the thing film amorphous solar stuff on his barn roof. Peel and stick roll out solar panels. 8kw (kilowatts).

Lithium batteries. 48 volt pack. Battery management system. Each cell is monitored during charging. A/C to D/C converter. A/C motor. Most electric cars use higher voltage for greater speed. 48 volts is great for a tractor. This tractor has a transmission including hi/low range. Linear actuators for the steering. Steve thinks this is better than hydrostatic.

Use a low geat for rototilling or mowing and a higher gear for using the loader.

Regenerative braking. $15,000 for an electric farm tractor. $30,000 for the fancy electric tractor (sans solar).

music by Jimmy Pardo
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