Electric Farm Tractor
Farm tractors are the handiest piece
of equipment to have in a rural setting of more than a couple of
Draft animals like horses and mules are viable solutions
if one is set up with barns, fences, figured out how to feed them
over the winter and is an expert in their health and welfare.
Inexpensive and simple sickle mower. |
Famall used for haying. |
Old Farmall tractor.
In the past I have been trading to
get heavy work like haying and snow plowing done.
||Twenty years ago people would gladly come to
mow and bale up hay for half the bales, ten years ago they wanted
all the bales and now I have to pay more than the hay is worth.
Small self powered square baler. The tractor
just needs to pull it. |
Rake and a baler.
Hay rake to make windrows for the baler after
The big question with a tractor is
how to keep it running say ten years from now as oil becomes more
and more expensive each year.
There are growing numbers of people who have successfully
converted old gas engine tractors to electric. The engine is replaced
with an electric motor that runs off on-board batteries which are
charged with a plug in battery charger or augmented by solar panels.
This cuts out the bulk of the hassles of maintaining a tractor.
Mechanical issues that come with engines, ignition and fuel systems
will be eliminated along with fuel, engine oil and filter expenses
and potentially hundreds of mechanical parts that will wear and
break in time.
The beauty of these conversions are
that they are relatively simple. Requiring basically two main pieces
to fabricate, an adapter to couple the electric motor shaft to the
tractor transmission shaft and a bell housing plate. There is a
shop in NY that specialize in these fabrications and have kits
Major parts for a conversion, electric
motor, batteries, cables, charger and controllers are not cheap
but not having to buy fuel, engine oil and the dramatic reduction
in maintenance are big enough reasons for an electric tractor conversion.
Here is a great conversion
example with illustrated
instructions of an old Allis Chalmers Model G tractor
converted to electric by Ron Khosla to work their organic
vegetable farm in upstate New York.
John Howe's nifty Farmall
Cub electric conversion to maintain his 175 acre spread.
The tractor should be big enough to
do the work a team of two small horses or mules can do or close
to it. For tractors to pull effectively, it needs weight for traction
|A hydraulic system for implements, loader and
a 3 point hitch system can be run off of a power take off hydraulic
pump or a separate electric motor driven hydraulic pump system.
Old tractors with motor problems are relatively
common and cheap. The trick is to find one with a good body. However
on many old tractors the engine is part of the frame or rather the
front axle and wheels are attached to the bottom of the engine and
removing the engine would necessitate a work around for the front
end and steering component support. Some like the Allis Chalmers
model G or John Deere model L does not have this problem and are
preferred tractors for a conversion.
pulling a manure spreader.
Family haying. |
Farmall with a sickle mower.
Some of the biggest vehicles today
are hybrid systems that are run by electric motors. Freight train
locomotives and submarines are diesel electric, a diesel engine
providing the power to run electric motors that turn the wheels
or propellers. Similarly nuclear submarines run on electric motors
powered by a nuclear reactor.
Recent news of viable air
propulsion has me wondering if that technology is adaptable
for farm tractors because that would be a even better solution,
no expensive batteries to buy. I can't see why not. Air powered
underground mine ore cars were in use in the 1930s in Europe
and air powered locomotives were in use here in the US.
Pneumatic Options Research