Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Agricultural Engineering

First Advisor

Leslie L. Christianson


The oil embargo of 1973 ushered in an era of energy consciousness in the United States. Steadily increasing energy costs and several nation-wide petroleum shortages since then have kept considerations of energy cost and availability in the forefront of economic planning in both the private and public sectors. Among the most severely affected 1s the agriculture industry, because petroleum consumption is crucial to the efficient production of food and fiber. Conservation measures have been implemented and tractor designers are striving for more fuel-efficient vehicles, but the pressing need to reduce agriculture's dependence on unstable foreign oil supplies will only be met when alternate energy sources can feasibly power farm vehicles. The development of electric agricultural vehicles could provide the means to reduce agriculture's petroleum dependence. Electric vehicles have been quite successful for some applications where advantages of less maintenance, longer 1ife, lower energy operating costs, better efficiency in start and stop conditions, and easier starting have been noted. Additionally, electric vehicles could utilize off-peak electric supply capabilities. The sale of such electric energy results in savings to the farmer and increased efficiency for the generating facility. It appears that electric vehicles have potential for agriculture. Therefore, research was initiated with the overall goal of assessing electric vehicle feasibility for eastern South Dakota agriculture. Specific objectives were: 1. Determine vehicle requirements as functions or specific farm tasks for eastern South Dakota farm operations. 2. Define electric vehicle performance characteristics based on current technology and projected 1990 technology. 3. Analyze the technical feasibility or replacing conventional tractors with electric vehicles. 4. Assess the current economic feasibility of electric vehicles and project the 1990 feasibility.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Agricultural machinery -- Electric equipment -- South Dakota.
Farm tractors -- South Dakota -- Electric equipment



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University