1)Do battery-operated tractors have as much power as the gasoline powered tractors?
Yes, Probably more. The traction motor on the METI Classic has a higher rated peak hp than almost all commerically produced garden tractors available.
2)When will the tractor be available?
The METI Classic is currently not in production.
3)I have an old Elec-Trak. When will the RePower kits be available? Is the original speed control replaced and where is reverse? Are all of the original circuits and wiring replaced? Does the main heavy wiring remain? Do I remove the band-resistors (toaster) in the front? Do I have to remove the charger?
The Repower kits currently not available.
In the Re-Power kit developed, the original speed control thottle is slightly modified. The forward/reverse function will remain the same. The new throttle operation will have infinite speeds between stop and full-speed.
Most of the original wiring and components are removed . If not using the Ready-To-Go unit, you will re-use several contactors (main and RTN) and the PTO contactor. The Read-To-Go unit will be supplied with all new components. The wiring for the head-lights, lift, seat-switch, brake-switch, and PTO will remain. The wiring to the batteries is re-used.
The band-resistors (toaster) is no longer needed and can be removed. The original charger can be re-used or removed. If the original charger is re-used, the charger-shield must be left in place.
4)What is the run time I can expect?
The run-time will depend on the terrain, the height and thickness of the grass, and the age/condition of your battery pack.
On average, the optimum run-time should be 2 1/2 - 3 hours with a mower attachment. The total run-time is more, but will heavily discharge the battery-pack. Severely discharging deep-cycle batteries will reduce their life expectancy.
You can take advantage of opportunity charging. Deep-cycle batteries take the first 80% of their charge quickly. The remaining 20% to full charge requires most of the recharge period. So, a 3-4 hour mid-day charge may get you another hour of run-time.
In terms of the average user...the run-time on a single charge is longer than most folks will likely use in a continuous session.
5)Battery operated equipment is more costly than ICE units.
Yes. However, it is wise investment of your money. An electric unit will likely be the last garden tractor you will have to purchase. Large numbers of the Elec-Trak series mowers are still faithfully performing for their original owners after more than 30 years and are well known for their durability. With the Classic, we kept a proven design and have improved it. This tractor is reliable, durable, and inexpensive to operate.
Many thousands of the Elec-Traks were sold in the 70's. The original retail price of the largest G.E. Elec-Trak (E-20) was $1,495. Calculating for inflation, the METI Classic retail price was actually less in terms of the 1970's price. Classic's traction motor has 3.5 times the hp of the original tractors, the deck motors are rated at twice the hp, it has modern electronics, the frame and the mower-deck are made from much heavier steel, and we have a locking-differential transaxle.
Add up the costs of replacing numerous tractors, gas, oil, spark-plugs, and air-filters you will purchase in a 10, 20, or even a 30 year time-frame. You will see the operational cost savings of a battery-operated tractor, will return the investment in less than its life span.
Assuming you pay $3.00 per gallon for gas and burn 2-gallons per hour, then run 20 hours per month for four months (typical growing season) and not including oil, spark-plugs, tune-ups, and air-filters....that's $480 per season. As volatile as gas prices are, who knows....$4.00 per gallon...$640 per season.....$5.00 per gallon....$800 per season.
You will use 10-20 cents (.12 kw/hr) per hour of use in electricity. Even if you include replacing the battery-pack every four years (with proper care they can last 6-8 years) the operational costs is $136 per season.
Again, You are making an investment. This is not purchasing a throw-away in a couple of years riding-mower.
A battery-operated tractor is less polluting than ICE machines and uses power more efficiently than ICE machines. Its power source can be refueled from small renewable energy systems or from commercial power grids. Commercial power is generally created using domestic energy sources.
Then compare convenience. Plug in the charger and walk away. When you are ready to mow, unplug the charger and you are ready to go. This, verses taking a gas storage-can down to the local gas station to get fuel. After returning, adding fuel and checking the oil levels before starting. Depending on the distance, this trip can be expensive as well and was not included the operational costs of the ICE machine.
The front-mount deck, of the METI Classic, makes sharpening the blades less of a chore. Just raise the deck to full height and then flip up for easy access to the blades. Electric motors are quiet. All you hear is the sound of the blades running. This sound is much like that of an industrial fan, not the roar of an gas engine. It is often possible to hear a cell phone ringing over the sound of the mower deck. No need to wear hearing protection. The sound of mowing will not disturb the neighborhood should you choose to mow early or late. Ideal for use around nursing-homes, hospitals, and schools.
A battery-pack is also a source to tap when commercial power goes off or is not conveniently located. DC to AC inverters can easily be attached for emergency power or to run AC powered equipment far away from outlets.
Compare the maintenance. A battery-operated mowers does not require tune-ups, oil changes, spark plugs, air-filters, and are not hard to start in cold weather. They only require being recharged, and occasionally, the addition of a small amount of water to the batteries. After the battery-pack is worn down, replacement of six 6-volt batteries is required. The old batteries can then be recycled.
The METI Classic is also versatile. In addition to mowing grass, it can handle ground engaging equipment. So, with the proper attachments, it can push dirt and push or blow snow. It can till, plow, or cultivate a garden. It is very powerful and can be used as a tug in factories and shops.
And, its fun to operate.
6)I need something smaller!
We are working on a smaller rider.