If you’ve ever spent a day on the golf course, you’ve likely noticed quiet, electric-drive golf carts making their way around the paths. Those nimble machines provide quiet, smooth transportation, and they’re a pleasure to drive. Now, John Deere has adapted that electric power technology and put it in its venerable grounds-care workhorse, the Gator.
But don’t assume this new model is just a modified golf cart, Deere’s publicity cautions. The electric-powered Gator TE has a drive system that is meant to deliver enough muscle to carry a 591-kg (1,301-lb.) load. To do that, its six-horsepower electric motor delivers torque through a transaxle that uses a 14.76:1 gear reduction ratio. The TE’s rated load capacity is actually higher than the gas-powered TX Turf version. And it has enough battery capacity to put in a full day doing chores. The actual charge duration will depend on how hard you make the TE work.
Its 48-volt electrical system is powered by eight Trojan T105 six-volt batteries. Optional T145 batteries are also available. The estimated time for a complete recharge is 12 hours for the T105s and 16 hours for the T145s, but that assumes the batteries are completely discharged. Average times would likely be much shorter. And the TE can be plugged into a standard 120-volt outlet, so no special hookup is required.
The TE is a little less agile than the TX Turf model, though. Even with the same rack and pinion steering, the TE requires a 7.3- metre (24.1 feet) turning radius, compared to 6.9 metres (22.5 feet) for the TX Turf.
To lighten its footprint, the TE comes with standard high-flotation turf tires that are linked to a fully independent, spring-over-shock suspension. To stop, the TE uses self-adjusting rear drum brakes only. But don’t worry, that should be ample for its needs; you won’t be breaking any land speed records with it. The TE maxes out at 15 m.p.h. (24 km/h.) forward and nine m.p.h.(14 km/h.) in reverse, much slower than the 20 m.p.h. (32 km/h.) the TS and TX Gators are capable of.
Although the TE is clearly aimed at the grounds care market, Deere might have generated additional interest in it by including outlets for hand-held power tools, particularly as the TE has a lot of stored electricity on tap.
The TE does include an expanded operator station for more leg room and high-back bucket seats.
You’ll have to pay a premium to put an all-electric TE in your garage. Its base price is US$9,449. That is considerably higher than the 16 horsepower TS at US$6,499 and the 19 horsepower TX which lists at US$7,599. There aren’t any readily available figures on whether you’ll save money by not having to buy fuel over the long run, but at least you can feel good about not adding any greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.
The TE looks similar to the TS and TX Turf versions, but one comparison you won’t have to make is engine decibel levels. The TE won’t make more than a hum as it does its job.
For more information, visit www.deere.com.