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Old 05-21-2016, 10:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Electric tractor anyone?

I've had this idea for a while now, anyone have any experience in building your own electric utility tractor? It's something I've always had simmering in the back of my head since I went Farmer John a ways back. Our current tractor is a 3 Series John Deere with the baby turbocharged dizzle engine, and it works great! That said, you spend a LOT of time idling when working, and that's just fuel out the exhaust.

I've been wanting to build my own smaller version for a while now, something I can drag my pastures with, tug the feed trailer around, etc. It doesn't need to be anything real fancy, will have standalone divorced axles and an automotive automatic transmission and transfer case...

So instead of the 22HP industrial 2 cylinder I was planning, why not throw in a forklift motor or two? One or two to drive the axles (scrap the transmission/t-case, won't need them anymore), and one motor dedicated to run the hydraulic pump? It's a big heavy platform anyway and weight is traction, so besides the $$$ in batteries I don't see a real downside for my purposes other than $$$.

It's obviously not a financially practical idea, this would be a strictly 'green' project, plus it's a fabrication project I've not tried yet and I like doing new things, lol

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Old 05-21-2016, 12:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonesome Trail View Post
I've had this idea for a while now, anyone have any experience in building your own electric utility tractor?
I've also thought about it - it's just a few project down on the priority list

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I've been wanting to build my own smaller version for a while now, something I can drag my pastures with, tug the feed trailer around, etc. It doesn't need to be anything real fancy, will have standalone divorced axles and an automotive automatic transmission and transfer case...
The speed is very low for an automotive automatic transmission. I know a tiny bit about them - that they don't lock up under about 1500 rpm - so they heat up the transmission fluid at low speeds. Is there a problem with using a tractor transmission?

Quote:
So instead of the 22HP industrial 2 cylinder I was planning, why not throw in a forklift motor or two? One or two to drive the axles (scrap the transmission/t-case, won't need them anymore), and one motor dedicated to run the hydraulic pump? It's a big heavy platform anyway and weight is traction, so besides the $$$ in batteries I don't see a real downside for my purposes other than $$$.
Running DC motors that slowly (20 rpm) will heat them up pretty good. I'd keep the transmission if it were my project .. but it's not.
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Old 05-21-2016, 02:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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There are some electric tractors on ecorenovator.
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Old 05-21-2016, 04:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Does there HAVE to be a lot of idling? I don't know what it is about idling- especially with diesels- but they are equipped with nice electric starters.
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Old 05-21-2016, 07:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Is that 22hp motor horizontal or vertical shaft?
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Old 05-22-2016, 01:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I am struggling to puzzle out exactly which Deere tractor you mean. If you mean the old 3xx series, there weren't any 22hp diesels. That said, the diesel 3xx tractors were the BOMB and are totally worth keeping in good running condition.

The X3xx have a couple of 22hp models, none of which appear to be diesel.

Wait - do you mean the current 3 series? That has a great little engine and I don't understand what you mean about the 22hp industrial engine...would you be swapping down?

But all of that is neither here nor there. Electric tractors are proven technology and in my opinion a great way to go, especially with a chore tractor like you describe. You drive it here, do stuff, drive it there, do other stuff. Sometimes it powers an attachment. That fits pretty well with an electric tractor's power profile, I think.

Find a junked tractor and convert that. Don't waste the 3, if it's in good shape keep it that way.

I liked John Howe's conversion of an old Cub, he didn't even remove the engine. He just powered the tractor backwards, connecting the motor to the PTO, and bolted on a solar canopy.
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Old 05-23-2016, 06:11 AM   #7 (permalink)
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How big does it need to be?
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Old 05-23-2016, 11:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The GE Electrack tractor had an E20 model, that is a 20 hour version, I used my parents E15 today to tow my neighbors Ford Ranger up the driveway, plenty of power even in high gear.
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Old 05-24-2016, 12:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You could increase the utility by adding an inverter to make 110AC power.
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Old 05-24-2016, 07:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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If I had the simoleons and the free time to drive to whatever forgotten corner of the world still hid one, I'd snap one up. I'd be pretty hard in the market for an E20. That's the electric equivalent of a 1990s Deere 400-series, serious muscle.

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