Electric Riding Mower Project

I have a 20+ year old MTD Yard Machines riding mower.  I’m not much of a mechanic but over the years I have managed to keep it running.  No real engine work, but just about everything else has needed attention at one time or another.

I’ve been thinking about doing an electric conversion on this one but felt like it was a bit too much out of my skill set.  Saw some plans on line but many of them seem already dated.  With all the eBikes, electric motorcycles, scooters, etc around these days, the technology has really matured and lots of components are available that would make this much easier than it would have been even a year or two ago.

You can even buy new electric riding mowers at Home Depot now, but they tend to be pricey ($2500+), and that may be the right way to go, but where is the fun in that?  Can’t say I’ve decided to convert the old mower, but might start putting some notes out here as I go along.

Most of the early decisions would be around the engine.  It is a 14 HP.  Should I just replace it with a suitable electric motor?  This seems to be the simplest way at first.

Another approach is to use one motor to drive the wheels, perhaps directly from the rear, and two smaller motors to drive the blades.  This eliminates all the pulleys, belts and transmission functionality and could make for a clean simple design.  I’m leaning toward the three motor solution, but need to look at the rear transmission.

BTW, this lawn tractor / riding mower seems to be a popular if not durable beast.  Lots of YouTube repair videos out there which can give you some ideas and a good look at the internals without having to take the machine apart.

Spent last night looking at some smaller motors for the blades and associated controllers.  Interesting stuff.  This motor kit for an electric scooter also caught my eye.

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2 thoughts on “Electric Riding Mower Project

  1. 20 year MTD Yard Machines push mower here. A new pull rope and oil drain plug are the only repairs I recall, though I had to clean the carburetor the times I forgot to use up all the gasoline at the end of the mowing season. I thought you were working on a robot mower.

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    • So I have a Landroid robot mower I have used in the back for maybe five years. I love it and have extended it’s range. Problem is I have an acre with lots of trees. I plan on going full robot soon. I guess this is just a “fun” project and a backup for the robots. Been watching a video series on YouTube with some guys converting an old Mazda Miata to electric. Kinda got me going on this one …

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