High Performance Racing Electric Ride On Mower Conversion Spotted At TTXGP Final Round
At Wakefield Park, Australia – October 2011
On Saturday 8th October 2011, whilst attending the final round of the Australian 2011 TTXGP Electric Motorcycle race at Wakefield Park, I spotted in the paddock a high performance racing Electric Ride On Mower Conversion. Not only did it look good, it was good. It was nicely prepared and ready to race. As a spectator to the TTXGP race which was part of the Formula Xtreme series, I did not expect to see an Electric Ride On Mower. What is even more interesting is that this is the world’s fastest Electric Ride On Mower with speeds capable of 90km/h which is around 56 mph.
Just like my Electric Go Kart conversion, there is a lot that can be learned from an Electric Ride On Mower Conversion, with the skills and knowledge transferable to an Electric Car Conversion project. Some of the things I learned from this Electric Ride On Mower was that AC electric motors could be rewound so that it did not need 240 volts, but 24 volts instead. As I have a couple of AC electric motors sitting at home doing nothing at the moment, I was very keen to learn this fact. In fact, one of my Electric Motors is a 240 volt one of similar physical dimensions to this motor. This fact is significant because AC Motor Controllers for Electric Car Conversions are expensive for 240 volts, at the time this blog was written. When getting the motor rewound, I was told that you need to know exactly what you want before getting it done. With this Electric Ride On Mower, the Electric Motor was prepared by Catavolt. Yes, the same team that prepared and built the Catavolt Electric Motorcycle that won the 2011 Australian TTXGP Electric Motorcycle Championship. The video below demonstrates the power and torque of the Catavolt prepared Electric Motor used to propel the Careda Air Electric Ride On Mower. The rear tires could be used to mow the grass, hence no need for cutting blades.
Another thing that was interesting was the location of the Electric Motor. The donor vehicle prior to being converted to electric, I believe had the motor in the front. After the Electric Conversion, the front is filled with batteries and the Electric Motor is located under the rider’s seat, just above the rear axle. Also, the transmission was removed and replaced with a sprocket on the rear axle.
I took a keen interest in this machine because I would like to do an Electric Vehicle conversion on either a ride on mower or off road go kart in the future – I want a little machine that has some off road capabilities and this one does it very well.
Although this one was made for racing, they can also make a handy utility vehicle for a back yard. What was interesting was that there were a number of people interested in this Electric Vehicle and it was great to see it being driven around the paddock at Wakefield Park. I was thinking at the time that I should have brought either my Electric Go Kart or my Electric Scooter so I could commute around the paddock.
Brief Specifications Of Electric Ride On Mower Conversion
Donor Vehicle: Victa ride on mower.
Motor: AC Motor rewound to run on 24 volts instead of 240 volts AC. It looks like an industrial motor. Located in the rear above the rear axle. This motor was expertly prepared by Catavolt.
Motor Power: Plenty.
Motor Torque: Plenty.
Motor controller: Curtis 48-80 volt, 550 Amp. I’m not sure on the model number, but it appears to be similar to a Curtis 1238.
Batteries: Six 12 volt lead acid batteries, located mainly at the front, but one at the rear.
Accelerator: Curtis foot accelerator.
Transmission: Single speed sprockets and chain.
Conversion cost: Approximately $9000 (Australian Dollars)
Built by: Careda Air which is an air conditioning company
Other: Blades have been removed so it not made for cutting grass. However, with the torque and power being transmitted via the rear wheels, it could easily dig up the grass.
My opinion about this Electric Ride On Mower is that it is a well prepared, fantastic and fun machine. Watching it drive around the paddock, you can see it has plenty of torque and the power is fantastic. I would not be surprised to see in the future to see this machine have its lead acid batteries replaced with Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries. If that happens, it would be interesting to compare acceleration, top speed and braking between a lead acid set up and a LiFePO4 set up. Perhaps, wheelie bars may be required if the weight on the front is reduced.
Part of the reason why the cost of conversion is a bit high is because this machine is built for racing. Things have been optimized and this machine is built to win races. I’m guessing that would have involved a lot of R&D.
This is the type of machine which seems to attract a lot of good attention, but the mower manufacturers don’t seem to be interested in making a machine like this. Same old attitude from the established manufacturers. Better off doing your own conversion.
Fun machine, well presented and well prepared. I reckon it would beat a lot of gas ride on mowers. It was great to see this Electric Ride On Mower running around the paddock at the Formula Xtreme and TTXGP weekend at Wakefield. It has given me some more ideas for my Electric Car Conversion.
This is Crazy Al signing out.