Another surprising John Deere related find on Flickr comes from user WheelTracks. He’s provided us with a few photos and a brief description of the project, which includes his reasoning for discontinuing its assembly:
This was the start of my off-road wheelchair prototype. This was
somewhere around 1972.
The chair used the standard John Deere Electric 90 riding mower gearbox
and motor. Yes, way-back-when, John Deere manufactured a battery-powered
riding lawnmower. It was trouble-free and worked great. Didn’t burn
gas… It used 3 Group 27 batteries, running everything at 36 volts. As
for lights and horns and things, this would be easy to add, as 36v stuff
is easy to find if you know where to look. The gearbox had a 3-speed
gearshift, giving 5 mph in 3rd gear, 3.4 mph in 2nd, and 1.8 in 1st.
Makes for lots of torque! The front tires are 16 inches diameter, 8 in.
wide. I think the rear tires are 10 in. dia. by 3.5 or 4 in wide.
The reason it never went beyond this stage is that the proper steering
and drive electronics hadn’t evolved enough at the time. It would be
trivial for a modern engineer to put together a system these days.