October 25, 2010 - Electric riding mower ahead of its time
Here’s a product that was slightly ahead of its time–The Electric Ox electric riding tractor. Manufactured right here in Burlington Ontario, it was a truly multi-purpose vehicle built before the green movement became so dominant. The Electric Ox – MP was capable of pushing, mowing, towing, grading a path and throwing snow, even a Mennonite would be proud. It had incredible amounts of torque, capable of pulling 7,000lbs! The patented Quick-Attach system meant you could change attachments not machines to do the next chore. In less than ONE MINUTE, you were off to the next task. Another very cool option was the ability to add an AC Inverter that supplied 3 AC power outlets for cord-bound electric tools that could be used in the remotest areas. Very cool!
The Electric Ox – MP’s unique drive system was the key to its power and long battery life. Using a motor for each drive wheel and an electronic differential, the operator received smooth torque on demand with little energy loss. This allowed the Electric Ox to work all day long without a charge in most towing applications and run up to five continuous hours when mowing.
Unfortunately the company went prematurely bankrupt last year, right before the push for commercial grade electric equipment had become so important to the lawn care industry. There is good news however, we spoke to the former president of the company in the summer, and it looks as though they will be back in 2011 with new funding and an all new Electric Ox! The company will be moving manufacturing to the US, which is a little disappointing, but they will be using Canadian engineering none the less. We had a chance to share some of the challenges that we faced this past summer using consumer grade equipment, and expressed our hopes for their next electric riding mower. If we had our druthers we would like the next Electric Ox to have the following features:
- We definitely need a system with swappable batteries. That way, we can charge a second or third set of batteries and simply change them over without having to wait for them to recharge.
- We want a mower with a 60″ cutting path and suggest a reel mower setup as opposed to a rotary blade. We believe this would extend the life of the batteries.
- We also want a snow thrower attachment so that we can extend our zero emissions service to our snow removal customers.
We look forward to seeing what the industry develops over the winter months. Having commercial grade electric and/or battery powered equipment is a must. Let’s hope the industry is listening.