Canadian eco-enthusiast Dan Baker is at it again, pimping a golf cart into an electric snow-blowing machine. Last year Baker home built the Firefly solar-powered boat from scratch and this winter he’s determined not to be snowed in.
Dubbed “Snowpig,” Baker built the snow blower as an alternative to an ATV/utility vehicle, with the added bonus of it being emissions free.
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“As far as I know this is the only vehicle of its type,” Baker told Gizmag. “I have seen some lawn tractors and snow-blowers converted to electric but none that have a full enclosure and features like mine.”
All together Baker spent about 30 hours customizing the used golf cart by installing a lift kit, converting the snow blower to electric and adding lights and a cab enclosure. He also equipped the Snowpig with a stereo, some heavy duty circuits for a couple of heaters and an electric coffee warmer mug to keep the chills away when on his 45 minute snow-clearing runs.
“With the subwoofer I installed I have an app on my phone that I use to play realistic truck engine sounds when naive people ask to hear the motor running," says Baker. "Too funny!”
Baker says one of the biggest hurdles in building the Snowpig was keeping the costs down. Being unsure if the project would even work, he didn't want to spend a lot of money on something that might not be feasible. The end result, however, is a functional 25 hp snow-clearing machine that cost CA$2,400 (US$2399) to complete.
“I looked for a long time for used components that would keep costs down,” says Baker. “As well I firmly believe that in order to change the typical person's reliance on fossil fuels the alternative needs to be cost effective and not priced out of reason.”
By taking matters into his own hands, Baker is saving substantial weekly snow clearing costs for himself and the other residents of the private road located in Fraser’s Lake, Nova Scotia. “Since January 6 I have used it to clear five snowfalls,” he says. “I have also used it twice to apply sand to the road with a tow behind spreader when it got icy. We are expected to get another storm come this weekend so it is quickly paying for itself, as myself and the residents of the road I live on were paying $80 for a contractor to plow it.”
In addition to the financial savings, Baker is also doing his bit for the environment. Since the Snowpig is an all-electric vehicle it doesn't burn gasoline like the contracted truck which would normally clear the road. “That truck would normally consume 5-10 liters (1.5- 3 gallons) of gasoline per visit,” says Baker. “As well, it is a snow-blower that can fit into smaller areas, offsetting a couple of neighbors from using their own gasoline powered snow-blowers.”
According to Baker the Snowpig uses approximately 4 kWh of energy to clear the 400 foot (121 m) dirt lane and surroundings. “We still haven't got any big storms, to date the most was 10cm (3.9 inches) which used 6 kWh,”says Baker. “But I'm hopeful and anxious to see how it works if we get a big 15+cm (6+inches) snowfall.”
You can check out Baker putting the Snowpig to work in the video below.
Source: Dan Baker