An Outsider ahead of his time: Watch as Peter Heide demonstrates his incredible electric tractor, built from scratch some 25 years ago.
“No one’s ever made an electric-powered tractor as well-built or as versatile as mine. It’ll blow snow, mow grass, grade drive-ways, and tow big loads,” says Manitoba’s Peter Heide.
A quarter of a century ago, Heide built this remarkable machine. Coined an “electric utility tractor,” the behemoth of a mechanical workhorse weighs 1,000-pounds, but only 67-inches long and 33-inches high. For power, the tractor pulls from six 6-volt deep cycle batteries. Each connects to a 36-volt series wound electric motor, as originally reported by Farm Show in 1996. The top speed? A whopping 5 mph.
“The controls being centered allows the operator seat to be relocated to the conventional ‘seat over tractor wheels’ position,” Heide explained to Red TV of his invention.
One man was ahead of the trend and built an electric tractor more than 20 years ago.Red TV
When doing so, “lift and tilt arms now serve as a 3-point hitch for pull-type accessories,” Heide continues within. “Caster wheels are now front wheels!” he explains excitedly whilst footage demonstrates.
“Over the years, we’ve seen thousands of practical inventions,” Red TV begins of Heide’s tractor. “But there aren’t many that’ll top this one for being unique. And extremely versatile!”
“You’re looking at a genuine home-built, self-propelled tractor from Peter Heide!” the trade continues. “The lawnmower feature is Peter’s handiwork, too!” they cite. Within, Heide himself notes the hardware he utilized from aircraft engineering to accomplish his electrical feat.
Tractor Inventor Peter Heide: ‘I Wouldn’t Trade This Buggy For The Moon!’
“What makes this tractor especially amazing is the electric power. That’s right, it runs on batteries – not gasoline! The result is amazing, with enough juice to run a 42-inch mower in the summer – or a 42-inch snow blower in the winter. This thousand-pound rig stands over just 3-feet wide, and 5 1/2-feet long,” Red TV details.
“Two levers in the middle of the tractor connect to cams and engage the brakes on each wheel to let you turn on a dime. Hey, you can pirouette just like a fancy dancer!” the trade says tongue-in-cheek as Heide demonstrates on his invention. “Better yet, you can even change the seat around to face the opposite direction and use the tractor to pull a plow or a garden cart.”
When all’s said and done, Heide can mow with his tractor for around half a day before recharging it, which is quite remarkable. On the flip side, he can blow snow for good three hours before recharging in the winter. To do so in any season, he uses a 115-volt auto battery recharger.
“I’ve been told it would be too costly to mass produce, but I wouldn’t trade this buggy for the moon,” Heide told Farm Trade of his prized tractor.
By the end of his project, Peter says he has around $4,400 invested. By today’s standards, that’s equal to about $8,000 for an electric tractor in 2021. Considering how versatile it is, that seems a fair price to us Outsiders!