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  • Writer's pictureMike Casey

In order to electrify we must innovate

Updated: Jul 5, 2021

In New Zealand, we have an idiom called "the number-8 wire mentality", which refers to innovating using the limited resources we have. The name comes from a gauge of wire called number-8 which is common on farms throughout New Zealand. This saying pays tribute to Kiwi farmers making do with what they have. In the past, New Zealand has been isolated, and resources and equipment to get the job done simply hasn't been available. We make do with what we have.

The same applies with electrification; when you can't buy the electric equipment you need, you can always make it. We have found this to be especially true when it comes to electrifying horticulture. We turned a golf cart into an orchard utility vehicle, then added an electric weed sprayer, and now we have added a paint sprayer too.

painting cherry trees using an electric paint sprayer powered using the power of an electric golf cart
Electric Paint Sprayer powered by Electric Golf Cart

Our Electrification Innovation

Utilising the 48V battery system on the "electric orchard utility vehicle" and connecting a pure sine wave inverter with a 230V output at 3000w gave us the ability to not only run the paint sprayer, but any 230V tools. Our electric cart is now a mobile power source.

A special mention must go to Jason Lee from Sangster Electrical here in Cromwell. His enthusiasm towards our electric mantra and his ability to think outside the box has been a huge help in this project.

So why do we paint our trees?

To provide you some context, it's best practice to paint your trees to give them some protection against the cold winter, and to ensure they don't activate too early. If they activate too early, a heavy winter or spring frost can badly affect their health, especially if the frost is too heavy for us to lift with our electric frost fighting fans.

How long do batteries last?

When we are not running any additional electrics our cart goes all day. With the 12V weed sprayer, we have noticed a reduction in battery power, but we can still run for a matter of hours. Running a 3000W 230V inverter brings total operation time down to 60 to 90 minutes.

What's the cost?

  • Inverter $850

  • Paint Sprayer $300

  • Labour 5 hours

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