Electric Garden Tractor Conversion

by Michael
(Manhattan, Kansas)

I have a 1979 Cub Cadet 682 garden tractor with a 17 hp gas engine which provides power to a hydrostatic drive and electric clutch power takeoff for implement operation.

I am interested in removing the gas engine and replacing it with a battery powered DC motor with controller, if necessary, while still retaining the normal operation (pto and hydro drive) of the tractor.

What motor, batteries and controller would you recommend that would give me near identical function as the gas engine?

Hi, Michael -
The video shows the Elec-trak, GE's electric garden tractor from the '70's. The components in the rebuild project described in the video might give you an idea of what you'll need in your own project.

Converting a garden tractor to electric has been done quite a few times. You can peruse the EV Photo Album tractor and mower page to get an idea of what's already been done.

The only caution I'd offer is that your tractor is probably quite a bit heavier than the Elec-trak above, because GE built it to be electric and weight conservation would have been a wise consideration. Your IH Cadet was definitely NOT optimized for weight. It's probably a TANK; )

Don't let that slow you down. You just want to beef up the components a bit.

This gentleman, Frank Gombik from Ontario, has converted his Cadet to electric using:

  • a 48V system;

  • a series wound DC electric motor that puts out about 6HP at 48V and 2300 rpm;

  • a 100 amp controller...

...and with all that is still probably a little OVER-powered. Let me quote: "Can lift front wheels in all three forward gears".

Have a good time with your project, Michael, and best of luck!


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Electric tractor Conversions
by: Brian

I have been converting gas tractors for 20yrs and I would not recommend just replacing the gas eng with an electric motor, this might seem like the easy way but you will be disappointed with the results, I recommend replace the eng and gearbox with an electric transaxle and use separate small electric motors directly driving the cutter blades, there is a lot more to it than just this and more info and videos can be found @ electriclawntractor.com

Cub conversion
by: Brian Edmond

Hi Michael
Replacing the gas engine with an electric motor is the easy way and while it will work it is most innificient to have the electric motor running at full speed all the time pumping hyd oil through pipes and valves, turning belts and pulleys, just generates unessessary heat at the expense of very limited battery power,unless you had a huge battery bank I believe you would be dissapointed with the results,e,g, limited battery run time.
Brian Edmond

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