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carbking

My "one of one" is home after 1 1/2 years

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No, it is not an antique car.


But it is a true one of one.

This prototype of the John Deere Electric rear engine rider was rescued from a weed patch at a farm auction in central Missouri about 30 years ago. We stored it inside until we had the opportunity to have it professionally restored (no, I did NOT do the work.....I cannot paint wink.gif )

The mower deck is still at the restoration shop. It was an absolute mess, rusted badly from the TOP side. One of the reasons for the electric was to sell it to suburban yuppies to be able to mow with less noise. However, Deere found that the noise of the whirling blades was almost equal to that of the engine on gasoline powered mowers. So they glued insulation strips on the outside of the mower deck to attempt to quiet the sound. These absorbed moisture and caused rust (just like the *&^%$#@ car cover I stupidly put on one of my GTO's......very bad idea in areas with high humidity). I will post a picture of the deck when it is finished.

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John Deere was way ahead of the public with these electric mowers (they debuted in 1970). The prototype was probably assembled in 1969. 

The Deere dealers literally hated these, and the general public wasn't much different. They did not sell well.

I have been interested in electric vehicles my entire life; and would have purchased an electric car in the 1970's except for what I considered a silly Missouri law which has now been repealed.

About 1980, when Dad and I were trying to acquire parts, information, etc. on the electrics, I asked a sales manager who had been at the dealership long enough to remember the Electrics why the dealers hated them as they did.

He laughed, and said there were two ways a salesman could get fired from the dealership. The first was to have an affair with the bosses wife, the second was to trade for a used electric.

After we finished laughing, he told us that because the electric drive motor was so quiet, the motor was often left on, running down the batteries. And the servicemen were not then really up on electronics; and the onboard charger was not overly reliable.

But this is the only one of one vehicle I have ever owned (I do have quite a few one of one carburetors), and I found it strictly by accident.

The mower actually works very well, and if one will mow about once every five days, 3/4 of an acre may be mowed on a battery charge.

Jon.

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Excellent!  GE made an electric lawn tractor in the early 1970s.  One of my friends was a dealer for them at their country store gas station auto repair and snowmobile business.  Apparently there are several survivors still in use out there.

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Posted (edited)
On 2/27/2019 at 2:44 PM, TerryB said:

Excellent!  GE made an electric lawn tractor in the early 1970s.  One of my friends was a dealer for them at their country store gas station auto repair and snowmobile business.  Apparently there are several survivors still in use out there.

 

It’s funny, I own and use a 1973 Elec Trak E20 for mowing, plowing, and occasionally to move a trailer around the property. I had no idea that JD was prototyping an electric rider at the same time GE was ramping up the Elec Traks for 1970 production. 

Edited by DazedinDayton (see edit history)

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Jon, that’s a really interesting vehicle that I never knew existed and it looks great! One question, without a carburetor won’t it lead to your businesses demise? (Sorry, but I couldn’t resist...)

 

Thanks again for your help on the phone yesterday, at least I think I’m more straightened out and am looking forward to getting the literature you had on my UU-2

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I have a late model Deere riding mower/garden tractor and have always been a JD fan and I was wondering how wide is the mowing deck? How long does it take to recharge the batteries? What's the top speed-about 4 mph like mine? You're not really going to mow your lawn every week with it, are you? Thanks for bringing it back to life. It looks great....

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Jon.......make sure it doesn’t run lean! 👍

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Quote Mark Weatherbee "Jon, that’s a really interesting vehicle that I never knew existed and it looks great! One question, without a carburetor won’t it lead to your businesses demise? (Sorry, but I couldn’t resist...)" End quote

 

I have been interested in electric vehicles my entire life; and would have purchased an electric car in the 1970's except for what I considered a silly Missouri law which has now been repealed. The lack of a carburetor is a problem, as I have roughly 150,000 of the silly things to either use or move. ;)

 

Quote Lebowski "I have a late model Deere riding mower/garden tractor and have always been a JD fan and I was wondering how wide is the mowing deck? How long does it take to recharge the batteries? What's the top speed-about 4 mph like mine? You're not really going to mow your lawn every week with it, are you? Thanks for bringing it back to life. It looks great...." End quote

 

The deck is still in the shop, but remember it being 38 inches. This is the first one I have owned that the onboard charger worked, and I have absolutely no plans to abuse it. We always pulled the jumpers and charged each battery with a car battery charger. And this one will never mow another blade of grass as long as I own it. Top speed is faster than I can run at age ......... ;)

 

Quote Edinmass (or Florida) "Jon.......make sure it doesn’t run lean! " End quote

 

It is supposed to run lean, it is a lean green machine ;)

 

The same shop is doing one of the production models, a later 96, for me as well.

 

Jon

 

 

 

 

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