If there’s one thing Oregon’s good at, it’s home-grown solutions. From blackberries, to grass seed, to Christmas trees, to hazelnuts, Oregon controls the American market on some major niche agricultural products (PDF). And with Oregon’s new push into the future of alternative energy and transportation, it only makes sense that Oregon agriculture will follow suit.
Enter Barefoot Motors and its all-electric heavy duty ATV targeted at farmers. Based in southern Oregon’s picturesque community of Ashland (which has recently garnered attention as the least immunized city in the nation), Barefoot Motors seeks to take advantage of the winds of change by providing farmers with the ability go green and still get their work done with a minimum of hassle — all with an eye towards saving money.
As our friends over at ZoomiLife have pointed out, what Barefoot Motors’ first product, the Model One, lacks in naming creativity, it certainly makes up for in practicality. Boasting a 4 hour seat time on one battery charge (given average usage conditions) and a tow weight of 1100 pounds, the Model One has enough power to satisfy most on-farm needs.
At an estimated final retail cost of $15,000, the Model One is not cheap. But, as Barefoot Motors points out, they expect the overall operational cost of the Model One to be about $6,000 less than a comparable gasoline powered ATV over the life of the vehicle. And if a farm is able to generate its own electricity through methane digestion, solar panels and/or wind power, those savings are sure to be even higher.
Additionally, given the fact that electric powered vehicles have essentially no service required (at least compared to a gasoline vehicle) the amount of time needed to keep the ATV operational will be far less too.
Barefoot Motors is currently taking a 10% deposit for you to reserve your own Model One and expects to begin actual production next month (February 2009), with the official product launch occurring at the World Ag Expo in California from February 10-12.
The Model One is currently being “beta” tested by select farmers in Oregon and, of all people, Jamie Hyneman from Mythbusters (who’s also acting as a technical adviser to Barefoot Motors). See the two videos below for an idea of how the farmers and Jamie are using these “Earth Utility Vehicles.”
Jamie Hyneman from Mythbusters:
Albert Straus, President Straus Family Creamery:
Image Credit: Barefoot Motors