Dear EV experts,
I'm new to the forum and to EV's in general. I'm amazed to find so much experience here, which is why I would want your help with the small project I'm creating.
Let me sketch you my situation.
I work for an NGO in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We're working with small and very poor farmers in a very remote region. They do all their work manually. Some form of mild mechanisation is highly welcome. The "walk behind tractor" or "roto-tiller" serves as the starting point.
- fuel (gas) costs a lot here in the interior (2200 francs / liter, that is: 1.8 euros /l or $4.9 / gallon); diesel is cheaper, but still off-limits (about 20% less the price), which is why we don't like IC engines
- big tractors are too big; people don't have the cash to invest, nor the technical skills. Getting such a machine to the interior (via the Congo river) is prohibitively costly
- farm fields are tiny: the average field is around 1 acre (half a hectare)
- we already have several solar panels (to charge the 12V batteries of our big radio and our P.A. system) and could add some more
- this situation had us decide on designing a simple, small, low-cost electric tractor
The are several back-breaking tasks for which we seek mild mechanisation and for which the tractor should be used:
- removing roots from trees that have been cut down (slash-and-burn farming is the main type of farming here)
- removing big chunks of slash (burned branches of, say, two meters)
- cutting or pushing down weeds and small trees on fallows (every 2 to 3 years, a fallow is re-used; it has then grown a lot of biomass)
- pulling a cart with produce to the warehouse
Main subsistence crops grown:
-corn, cassava (manioc), rice, beans, groundnuts
Our idea is to train a few people to operate the tractor, and to help others use it. Costs are carried by the cooperative which we have created.
The tractor should be (I know this will be a tall order):
- relatively powerful (we've done some tests pulling roots with a Yamaha 125 DT, which worked; the DT boasts 17hp)
- low-cost (functional: no gadgets!)
- extremely simple to operate and to maintain
- should be possible to build the machine in Kinshasa, by local technicians
The tasks it has to perform are short-duration tasks; a capacity to work during 1 hour is already OK.
We made a tentative sketch of what it could look like, which I attach to this post. (Don't mind the simplicity of this drawing).
Now since we've got no expertise whatsoever on EV's, we'd highly appreciate your first impressions, advice, or input.
If the eventual tractor were to work well, we have network resources (contacts at major agricultural and international development organisations) which may help replicate it and make a real program out of it.
PS: I found Woody's E-tractor
project, which is great, but of an other order. /woodys-tractor-project-39910.html