A review of the Electric Ox

After many years of using an old General Electric Elec-trak, I bought an Electric Ox from Electric Tractor Corporation in September 2004. This is a review of the Electric Ox, primarily in comparison to the Elec-trak. My basic unit is a 2004 model, but the mower is the 2005 version and the snowblower is the first prototype, developed at the end of 2004.

As of late 2008, Electric Tractor Corp. is in middle of reorganizing their business and tractors are not currently for sale. The new units are expected to be less expensive, and may be of a different design then the older unit I describe here.

Basic unit

The Electric Ox tractor is a great improvement over the Elec-trak. If nothing else, it's much easier to have modern equipment which does not constantly need repairs.

Most of the body is fiberglass -- a big improvement over the rusty metal on the old Elec-trak. The parts that are metal, however, are poorly painted and quite rusty, considering that I have only had the unit for six months.

The basic tractor comes in a 48V version and a 36V version. I have 48V. There are 6 8V batteries; 2 in front and 4 under the seat. The batteries are U.S. battery 8VGC. These batteries have a very nice system for removing all the caps at once for watering.

You have to open the seat and front cover when charging to avoid accumulation of hydrogen. There is a beeper to remind you.

There are separate motors on the 2 back wheels, and the relative motor power is adjusted when you turn the steering wheel. This makes the Electric Ox have much better traction than the Elec-trak. I do not have chains on my Electric Ox and it is comparable to my Elec-trak with V-bar chains -- better in some cases and worse in others.

The lift is a linear actuator, which is a big improvement over the strap of the Elec-trak. Among other things, it can push down on the plow blade. In fact, it will lift the front wheels off the ground so that all the weight is on the plow blade and the drive wheels. You can still steer in this configuration because of the variable 2-motor drive system.

Unfortunately, Electric Tractor had a lot of trouble getting the lift system set up properly. I can't lift my mower deck off the ground, for example, and it is not quite powerful enough to easily lift the snowblower. This was finally fixed in December, 2005, and since then it's worked beautifully.

There is a very nice system for taking the attachments on and off. You drive up to the attachment, push down on the lift switch to lower the lifting mechanism into the fittings on the attachment, and the latch grabs a bar on the attachment. To release the attachment you push a button to open the latch. This is enormously more convenient than the Elec-trak system. Sometimes the latch doesn't latch, though. The spring that latches it should be a little stronger.

The control system just has a foot pedal for controlling the speed and a separate place to push (actually the other end of the same rocker) for reverse. There are no gears. It's enormously more convenient than the system on my Elec-trak E15 which required lots of gear shifting. The Electric Ox system saves a lot of time in activities that involve going forward and backward repeatedly.

There is no brake pedal. When you release the pedal, the tractor stops by regenerative braking. There is a mechanical parking brake which is automatically activated when you are not going in either direction for a second or so. The braking system works much better than the notoriously poor system on the Elec-trak.

With the mower attached, I am able to climb or descend a 35% grade in a controlled fashion, which I could not do with the Elec-trak, because one wheel would slip. That does not happen on the Electric Ox because the wheels are controlled separately. (The manual warns against slopes over 15 degrees (27% grade)).


The seat is much more adjustable than the Elec-trak, although I found the adjustments very stiff. Like the Elec-trak there is supposed to be a switch in the seat that turns everything off when you fall out. Mine doesn't work, however. The company sent me a new seat under the warranty, but that one also lacked a working switch. (Electric Tractor purchases the seats complete with switch from some other company, which apparently has very poor quality control.) Finally in June 2005 I got a working seat switch.


The charger has 2 banks which separately charge half the batteries each. This allows 24V devices to be run without unbalancing the batteries. These devices include the lights and the lift.

The charger that I got with my tractor never worked properly. They sent me a replacement, but that didn't work either. Finally in December 2005 they sent me a new model of charger which works. It has maximum current 7A until about the gassing voltage, and then enters a regime in which the current gradually drops as the voltage gradually rises, finally finishing at 2.5 volts per cell. Then it goes to floating at 2.25 volts per cell, which I think is slightly high. There is no temperature compensation.

The original charger was under your foot as you sit on the tractor, and had a door that opens for access to the cord. The new one is under the hood, which is probably an improvement, because the door was hard to open and close and the cord difficult to stow.


I bought a 1800W inverter with my tractor, which I can use to power an electric chainsaw, weed whacker, and so forth. It was made by "C3 Technology Transfer Specialists", which may now be out of business, so perhaps they are shipping a different one now. It is supposed to be a modified square wave, but in fact it becomes nearly an unmodified square wave under load. See waveforms here.

In spite of the bad waveform, it seems to work fine for the weed whacker and such. I'm reluctant to power my house when the grid goes down, however.

The inverter is under your foot on the opposite side from the charger. Opening the door turns on the inverter and exposes 3 outlets. Like the charger door, it's a good idea but poorly built.

After a year, smoke came out of the inverter. They are supposed to replace it with a model from a different manufacturer.

After some delay, they did in fact send me a 1500W sine wave inverter to replace the one that burned out. The new one has been reliable. They suggested I should mount it between my feet, which did not seem convenient at all, but I was able to get it under the hood on top of the batteries, where it is out of the way and out of the weather.


The mower is a front-mounted deck with 3 blades. The cutting part of the blade is a replaceable tip. You don't sharpen it but rather replace it when it breaks. Like the Elec-trak, the blades stop right away when you turn off the switch. I think the deck is slightly wider than the Elec-trak front-mount deck. It seems to do a good job of cutting the grass.

My deck is side discharge. I preferred the rear discharge of the Elec-trak, but I think this is a matter of personal preference. If you want to rake up your cut grass, side discharge is better. If you want to leave it on the lawn, rear discharge is better.

The deck is supported by two small pneumatic caster wheels in front and two wide plastic wheels in back. The tires leak, so they are giving up on this design and are supposed to send me solid wheels to replace them. The height is controlled by a crank which adjusts all four wheels at once. It is much more convenient than the Elec-trak system.


The plow is a 48" blade. There is an electric angle adjusting system, but I do not have it. The manual adjustment system works fine, but you have to get off the tractor to use it. The blade works fine, and you can do a very good job of scraping by lifting the front tractor wheels off the ground. The paint job on the plow is not very good.


I have the first prototype snowblower. The actual blower is not made by Electric Tractor, but has been adapted to this use. It is a two-stage blower and vastly superior to the old Elec-trak version. It throws the snow much further and you can exercise much more control over exactly where your snow goes. There is a minor flaw that a small amount of snow is piled up in front of the auger, so that if you stop and back up you leave a little pile.

There is an electrical system for turning the chute. It's very convenient, but needs a little more work. When you release the button the motor continues to turn for a while, making it hard to aim the chute exactly where you want, and at the end of the chute travel there is a tendency to jam. I hope these problems will be fixed in a production version.

The blower is supposed to stop instantly when you turn off the switch, and usually does so, but not every time.


My tractor, including inverter, mower, blade, and snowblower cost about U.S. $12,000. I think this is comparable to similar gas-powered equipment.

The company

Electric Tractor Corporation has been very difficult to deal with. I placed my order on September 24, 2004 and gave a 50% deposit. On November 11, I got a call, "Your equipment is ready to ship; please pay the remainder of the cost." Foolishly, I agreed. My tractor and plow blade were shipped on December 3, but the snowblower was not shipped until January 26. The mowing deck was not shipped until May 19. All this was in spite of many phone calls on my part trying to get my equipment.

Two accessories (the reel for the inverter cord and a 12V tap) that I had ordered and paid for had been discontinued, but I did not receive a refund for them until May 27, 2005.

Warranty replacement has been similarly slow. I discovered within a month or two of receiving my tractor that my charger (not made by Electric Tractor) was not working properly, and I didn't get a working replacement until December 2005. I did get a replacement for my seat, whose safety switch is broken, but that seat was broken in the same fashion. Finally on June 24 they sent me a seat with a working switch, but I had to drill new holes in the tractor frame because the mounting system was different.

I received a new lift system when I complained that mine could not lift the snowblower. The new system did not fit and required some modification on my part, and then was still insufficient to lift the blower. I finally got a properly working lift (which required significant installation effort) in December 2005.

Electric Tractor Corporation did give me a $500 credit for future purchases and extend my warranty by a year in response to my complaint about the way I had been treated.

I got a small discount on my original order in exchange for giving feedback to the company and writing this report. I made clear at the time that I would write an honest report, and I have done so, but I did delay writing it to wait for some of my problems to be resolved.