There are some utility bicycles on the market, some with electric motors to help carry a good bit of cargo. If you really need to haul more weight than a typical grocery-getter like this, you’ll want to look into a tricycle for higher capacity loads. Nothing you’ll find will match this monstrous electric tricycle hand-built by [AtomicZombie] out of junkyard parts, though. It’s a mule.
Since [AtomicZombie] sourced most of the underpinnings of this build from the junkyard, it’s based on an old motorcycle frame combined with the differential from a pickup truck, with a self-welded frame. He’s using an electric motor and a fleet of lead acid batteries for the build (since weight is no concern) and is using a gear reduction large enough to allow him to haul logs and dirt with ease (and dump them with the built in dump-truck bed), and even pull tree stumps from the ground, all without taxing the motor.
[AtomicZombie] documented every step of the build along the way, and it’s worth checking out. He uses it as a farm tractor on his homestead, and it is even equipped with a tow hitch to move various pieces of equipment around. Unlike a similar three-wheeled electric contraption from a while back, though, this one almost certainly isn’t street legal, but it’s still a blast!
31 thoughts on “Electric Dump Truck Tricycle Is No Toy”
Thanks for posting my DIY Tractor!
It has really made life around here much easier, especially when collecting firewood.
I love the headlight! Overall it’s a great build!
Thanks! Found it at a yardsale – it was from a 1940’s firetruck.
a little slow. i think mom’s mobility scooter could outrun it.
It certainly could! I have learned a valuable lesson when creating a 500 pound electric vehicle with endless torque…
“I never build anything I can outrun”! Or in this case, out walk.
In reality though, I traded speed for torque.
Right you are Brad.
Your tractor looks awesome! Enjoy the rides and keep up the good work :-D
torque is important for this kind of vehicle, thats understandable. my moms scooter could use some more torque going up hill, i feel sorry for that poor poor motor. one of her previous scooters was so overstressed that the magnets in the motor just shattered.
Electric Zombie (https://www.atomiczombie.com) has built (and sold plans for) any number of interesting homebrewed recumbent/adaptive bikes and other interesting projects over the years, including the Yard Mule electric tractor (let’s call it what it is) and a device called the “PortaPen Poultry Tractor” which means that you too can build…
(wait for it)
Poultry in motion.
Thanks for the comments! I go by Radical Brad in the winter when I do my electronics projects, like this one…
And in the summer when the homestead steels me, I go by AtomicZombie, and build projects to help around the farm as well as the recumbent bikes, which are just pure fun.
Thanks to the world-wide DIY community, here and on my own forum… all of the amazing projects posted here are my source of inspiration.
Radical Brad aka AtomicZombie.com
Where’s the dam like button! Yes, I like bad jokes. Nicely done.
I built one of his plans years ago (a recumbent bike called the Meridian) and it was awesome. I am actually starting work this month on a trike that’s loosely based on his work as well. I documented the build here:
Nice looking ride!
Also, thanks for your support!
Of course! I was known as “rykoala” on your old forum and contributed a lot back in the 2007-2009 era. Your tutorials and site gave me the confidence to do something I thought I could never do, and I’ve always appreciated it. Much of my own site is inspired by your “you can do anything with a few simple tools” mentality.
I remember your handle for sure! If you ever feel like coming back, the new forum I put up last year has many of the “old crew” still there!
I’ll be there soon ;-)
Looks to me like it could use a small (like 80W) PV roof. Most likely the mule is not used every day, so a top up system would be good to prevent a slow decline in charge. In addition, if you only need it once in a while, the small top up could be used as the main charger.
A great idea there for sure. I think I will pursue adding a flip up solar wing.
I wonder if one of those GM eAssist motors could work for one of these as I been seeing them in junk yards lately.
That motor does look like a viable option for sure. It is a higher voltage 3 phase motor (100-120V), so you would also need to acquire the matching power source from the vehicle.
“Self welded frame”
That sounds like a HaD article in itself!
Getting metals to weld themselves together.
I wonder if they could do a better job than my (lousy) welding?
ironically, I have had a “self welding frame” once. You get that when a piece of steel tubing drops across a fresh 80 amp hour car battery! Another robot story for another time.
so…why is the log splitter still gas powered? :P
Only so much time in a day to build things!
looks useful and fun. oversized headlight awesome too.
Many (all?) US states allow farm equipment to be used on the road for farm business, so, yeah, it may be close enough to street legal. I would put a “slow moving vehicle” (SMV) triangle on the back – you can get reflective ones at farm supply stores. I don’t know if it’s required, but I know I’ve seen those triangles around dawn long before I realized I was looking at a tractor or implement.
I have one on the back now, along with a flashing strobe for the box frame.
just as the title says a TRICYCLE IS NO TOY!
your life is worth more than one extra tire..
If by that you mean a trike is somehow unstable, then let me assure it is not.
Even conventional tractors with 2 front wheels place them on a pivoting arm, making them essentially trikes as well.
3 points properly placed makes the best possible footing.
Made a new video of my Mule at work.
Hundreds of pounds of wet wood and a splitter in tow – out of the mud and up a massive hill…
After a full day of this, the batteries only had a small dent in their full capacity!
Mule power, baby!
Just checking to see if there is a way to embed a video here. Please delete this if it doesn’t show the video any better than my previous post…
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