Updated 30/11/09: video added
A NSW GRAZIER has converted his 2006 Mitsubishi Triton GLX-R 4x4 to all-electric power as part of a wider project to develop more sustainable farming practices.
Michael Inwood farms 800-hectares near Bathurst, which he and his family run according to an environmentally-sustainable management plan.
Powered by a 150kW electric motor instead of the standard 3.2 litre turbodiesel, the Triton EV cost approximately $40,000 over the purchase cost to build.
Charged using renewable energy (most of it solar), the Triton EV's 45 lithium-ion batteries supply it with enough power to travel 80km at 100km/h - more than enough to travel the 20km into Bathurst for supplies, with plenty left over to run around the farm's expansive paddocks.
It's not just a runabout though: Inwood has also equipped his 'sunpower' ute to perform less conventional roles. The Triton EV can be hooked up to an Agroplow disc seeder and, with its standard five-speed manual and dual-range 4WD system, makes light work of most jobs.
Having 500Nm of torque on tap from that electric motor would certainly be helping.
There are a couple of downsides, however: the Triton EV can't be driven through deep water and, at 2100kg, it's a fairly heavy beast.
But despite the high cost of the conversion and the relatively limited range, the Triton EV demonstrates that electric power isn't just something that city-bound commuters can take advantage of. The technology can also benefit the agricultural sector.