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36V Yanmar Tractor EV
click on photos for larger images    all photos by royster





Tractor was converted to electric drive in 1992 by Steve Heckeroth, please see Steve's website.

Using this tractor has proven to me the viability, utility, and long-term reliability of electric drive for farm equipment. Not to mention the quiet operation and lack of smoke and fumes. No idling necessary.

I could cut heavy grass for 2 hours using a double mower deck. It is also a forklift with forks jammed in the bucket. I have lifted and towed very heavy loads with it.






There is no steering wheel, steering is done with a linear actuator. Just wiggle the inch high toggle switch at your left hand (see photos).

When I first saw this tractor, it had been in operation for 7 years with the same battery pack (two 36V packs in parallel). In 2001 I installed a new pack. Also changed motor brushes on the compound wound motor (surplus aircraft starter/generator). The compound wound motor allowed the controller to be bypassed with a contactor after it was up to speed and maintain a safe RPM while mowing or doing anything that required constant speed. After 7 years, the Curtis 1205 controller failed, it was replaced with a remanufactured unit.






I ended up cleaning it up and repainting it after these photos were taken so it could tow a float in the City of Mendocino Independence Day Parade. I was at the helm that day, with a bucket full of lettuce, an Uncle Sam top hat, and towing a large flatbed trailer covered with straw and carrying organic farmers undulating with gardening implements. All while we were being circled by folks on electric bikes and scooters from MendoMotive Electric Bicycles. It was quite a circus, and a good time was had by all :-)



Owner: Steve Heckeroth
Albion, CA
Base Vehicle: Yanmar tractor
Motor: Surplus compound wound DC
Stock Yanmar
Controller: Curtis 1505 36-48V 275A
(12) US 125 6V
System Voltage: 36V
Zivan 120VAC - 36VDC
Heater: solar
DC/DC Converter: none
Instrumentation: Curtis bar graph SOC meter
Top Speed: approx. 15 MPH
Range: 2 1/2 hours heavy mowing
Seating Capacity:  
Curb Weight: unknown
Tires: tractor
rear, VW front
Comments: a real workhorse

Updated 2/4/06

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