Elec-Trak

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The GE Elec-Trak was the first commercially produced all-electric garden tractor, made mostly between 1969 and 1975 at GE's Outdoor Power Equipment Operation under Bruce R. Laumeister.[1] Despite their limited production and availability, many Elec-Traks are still in use today[2] and have a cult following among tractor and electric vehicle enthusiasts.[3] They are an archetypal or seminal design that has influenced all later electric tractors.

Several models were produced, including: the E8M and ER8-36 (8 hp equivalent); the E10M (10 hp); the E12 and E12M (12 hp); the E12S and E15 (14 hp); the E16 (an upgraded variant of the E15), and the E20 (16 hp). GE's claimed horsepower figures were notional and inconsistent in documentation and sales literature; the table below includes "real" horsepower. The E8M and ER8-36 were styled more as ride-on mowers than tractors. The "M" suffix used on some models indicates the ability to accommodate a mid-mounted (belly) mower,[4] and an "H" was used on some models to indicate a heavy duty, extra range battery pack.[5]

Starting in 1972 GE also made an industrial version of the Elec-Trak, the I-5, compliant with all relevant sections of ANSI B56.1-1969 and OSHA FMEC Class E. Mostly identical to the E-20, it was orange instead of yellow, had a 12vdc warning horn, fenders over the front wheels, and attachment points for additional accessories, including a roll cage and forklifts of varying heights that could be mounted either forward or rear facing.[6]

Elec-trak branded attachments included electric trimmers, edgers, chainsaws, radios, arc welders, fork lifts, front-end loaders, rotary brooms, roller aerators, lawn rollers, dump carts, maintenance carts, large vacuums, agricultural sprayers, moldboard plows, row crop cultivators, tillers, disk harrows, sickle bar mowers, belly mowers, front-mounted rotary mowers, front or rear-mounted ganged reel mowers, lawn sweepers, electric rakes, snowplows, golf bag holders, double seats, 120vac rotary inverters, canopy tops, and more. The snowblower was commonly called snowthrower to draw distinction from the more mass marketable Leafblower certainly cheaper and more easily produced then anything ruggedized for below freezing that only sees use from the ocasional snowfall. General Electric Picture from Schenectady Dept of Advertising and Sales Promotion. B/W 9:10 long, ripped from a projector Reel, states 'Thrower' ~10 times [3][7] Electric crop sprayers were advertised and sold, but GE discontinued the product and refunded all orders in 1974 due to low demand.[8]

A 36VDC "accessory outlet" for NEMA L2-20 twist-lock connectors, mounted under the hood overhang on the left side, is used to power handheld tools. High current draw front and mid-mounted attachments connect to a 36VDC "power take off" using a NEMA 10-50 outlet, mounted forward of the accessory outlet. The NEMA 10-50 is a heavy, thick bladed design rated for 50A at 250VAC (readily available in the 1970s in the USA for use with 240VAC clothes dryers) that GE empirically found to be capable of the far higher currents drawn by the snowblower at 36VDC.[citation needed] An Anderson connector, standard on the I-5 and optionally available for other models, was mounted under the right rear fender for rear-mounted heavy current draw attachments such as the vacuums, sickle bar, and rear electric lift.

After the shutdown of production at GE, Elec-Traks were produced under the Wheel Horse[9] and Avco New Idea[10][11] labels.

Some time after the final shutdown of the Wheel Horse line in 1983, all remaining parts and dies were sold to Bill Gunn,[12] a dealer in Edgerton, Wisconsin. Eventually Gunn retired and all remaining stock was sold to Jim Coate of the Electric Tractor Store.[10][11]

Elec-Trak Component Motors[edit]

Motor Model/ID # HP Volts Amps RPM If Rf Winding Mounting Shaft Notes
E12 Drive 5BCE56KB5B 1.5 36 37 3500 2.25 16 Stabilized Shunt foot round keyed
E15 Drive 5BCY56RA6 1 36 25 2250 1.9/.5 Stabilized Shunt foot round keyed 3" dia motor pulley, 6" dia trans pulley
E20 Drive 5BCY56TA2 1.2 36 30 2250 1.9/.5 Stabilized Shunt foot round, keyed
METI Drive ES-93A-33 D&D 3.5 36 85 2900 5 Shunt foot round, keyed
GE "JB" Motors 5BC48JB529 / 302 2 36 52 3300 Series foot round, keyed forklift appl
7.5" tall Mower Motor 5BPA34NAA7 0.6 36 15 4000 none PM flange round, tapped axial hole datecode EFN
6.5" tall Mower Motor Bosch/Danaher BA3816-815-1 0.6 36 15 3200 none PM flange round, tapped axial hole
"flat" Mower Motor American Bosch 18222-26-mo48hm ? 36 ? ? ? ? flange round, tapped axial hole WH belly mower
METI Mower Scott Motors 4BBX1372 1.25 36 30 3750 none PM flange round, tapped axial hole
OEM Snowblower 5BC49JB131A / 142A 2.5 36 66 3100 4.8 22 Compound foot round, keyed brush 1/2x5/8x1.75 #673
OEM Lift 5045631 Delco Window Motor 0.25 18 slow none Series flange Gearbox
OEM Tiller 5BC49JB133B 2.5 36 66 3100 4.8 Compound foot round, keyed

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Will, pgs 81-83.
  2. ^ http://elec-trak.org/ The Elec-Trak owner's club
  3. ^ a b Daryl McMahon, www.econogics.com
  4. ^ GE sales publication GEZ-5674 Colored brochure of all tractors
  5. ^ GE dealer publication GEH-4020, E8M TO E8HM HEAVY DUTY KIT
  6. ^ GE product release announcement, GENERAL ELECTRIC DRIVES INTO INDUSTRIAL MARKET WITH BATTERY TRACTOR/FORKLIFT 1972-10-10
  7. ^ Scanned brochure - 1972 Attachments and Accessories
  8. ^ J. W. Stackhouse, "Notification to all OPEO Dealers and Distributors" 1974-03-29
  9. ^ Will, pg. 83
  10. ^ a b George Beckett, http://www.myelec-traks.com/history.html
  11. ^ a b Steve Shore, http://www.watts-up-elec-traks.com/ge-elec-trak-history.html
  12. ^ Scanned copy of letter directing customers to Bill Gunn

References[edit]

Vendors[edit]