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Electric wagon

I have a covered wagon I built using the wheels and axels of a garden cart. (See attached pics) I want to motorize it to make my life easier. I use it at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to provide food for my team of volunteers. I have to take it quite a good walking distance rain or shine. It is 2x4 foot with 10 in wheels. Run time is approximately 3 to 4 hours a day (going in the rodeo and leaving) with an idle period of 6 to 8 hrs between.
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I want to purchase the equipment or kit to motorize the wagon. Can someone help me with this?
We have all of the parts needed to motorize your chuck wagon. I need to ask a few questions first in order to make the kit.

It sounds like you need the cart to go walking speed which is around 3 miles per hour, is that correct?

Do you want the cart to go forward only, or have forward and reverse?

Yes just walking speed is all I need, but I would like the capability to go forward & backward.
Just so you know. The wagon gets heavy when it is full of food, so it needs the power to handle it.

Thanks for that information. I switched it from a 450 Watt motor to a heavy duty 600 Watt motor to handle the extra weight of the food. At walking speed the 600 Watt motor will be able to easily handle the weight of the food and be able to climb ramps and hills when needed.


The 3-4 hour run time will require a lot of battery capacity so the wagon will need to have three large batteries. I ran some gear ratio calculations and found that with the 10" tires it will need a 45 tooth wheel sprocket. Here is the gear ratio calculation:


We can supply all of the electrical components. The #420 chain and 45 teeth sprocket for #420 chain can be purchased from almost any motorcycle parts store.


Right now finding the right throttle for the wagon is my next goal. I have a couple of questions:

  • Do you have any preference over using a thumb throttle or twist throttle?
  • What is the diameter of the steel tubing that the wagon handle is made out of?

I measured the handle shafts and it is 7/8 in with a 1/4 bolt attachment. See pictures attached.
Here are the pictures. Either throttle is okay. Whatever you suggest.
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That is perfect. These throttle are made to work with 7/8" OD handlebars so they will fit your handle. They do not like to go around bends though so you will probably need to cut the handle so there is a flat area the throttle can slide onto.


I recommend using a twist throttle because with 3-4 hours of usage your thumb will get very tired if using a thumb throttle, but a twist throttle will be easy to use for a long period of time.

So I can recommend the right size motor, do you know approximately how much weight will be in the cart when it is fully loaded, and also does it have to climb any steep hills or ramps?
The 600 watt motor should do the trick. The weight I couldn't really say. I can pull it fully loaded without too much trouble. Maybe 75 to 100 lbs over the weight of the wagon. . As for ramps, there is only one a little on the steep side, I have a winch system setup in my truck to load and unload the wagon. I will cut the wagon handle were you suggested, thanks for the tip.
I thought that the cart would have 500 or 600 pounds of food in it. If the food weight is only 100 or even 200 pounds over the weight of the wagon then the 450 Watt motor will have more than enough power. The reason I asked about the weight is because if we can use the 450 Watt motor instead of the 600 Watt motor then we have a controller with reverse and I remember that you do want the cart to have reverse. The 450 Watt motor does not have a mounting base though so it will need a mounting base to be custom made out of steel which could get expensive. However with as light of a load that the cart will have and it being geared for a 3 MPH top speed our 24 Volt 350 Watt gear motor with mounting base will have plenty of power and will also be easy on the batteries so we can get it to run for 4 hours without using too many batteries. It should be able to easily climb the ramp into your truck also. Here are the parts that I recommend.
  • 24 Volt 350 Watt gear motor with mounting base.
  • 24 Volt 500 Watt controller with reverse.
  • Half length twist throttle.
  • Handlebar mount on/ off switch.
  • Handlebar mount reverse switch.
  • Two 12 Volt 35Ah batteries.
  • 24 Volt 5 Amp battery charger.

Of course you are welcome to use the 450 Watt or 600 watt motor instead, these parts are only my first suggestion.


How does this parts list sound. Would you like for me to make a kit out of the parts listed above, or make any changes?

I think the 450 Watt motor would be best to be safe. So yes could you put this kit together so that I can get it ordered. I have 6 wks before Rodeo starts this year.
I made the kit with the 450 Watt motor. I included a mounting plate for the motor which will make fabricating a bottom bracket for the motor much easier, or the mounting plate alone may work for mounting the motor. With the wagon's 10" wheels the gear ratio of the motor and sprockets in the kit will provide a 3.36 MPH top speed. I included a 100 links (50 inches) of chain which is common bicycle chain and can be made smaller with an inexpensive bicycle chain breaker which can be purchased at any bicycle store.

Attaching the sprocket to the wheel should be the most challenging (and fun) part of installing the kit. The sprocket could probably be attached by bolting it to the wheel with standoff spacers made of  steel pipe as shown in the photo below. If that does not work then just about anyone who works with steel would be able to figure out a way to bolt or weld the sprocket onto to the wheel.

Here is the link to the kit: https://cart.electricscooterparts.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=KIT-142

If you have any questions or would like any changes made to the kit please let me know.

Could you get me the kit with the 350 motor for comparison. I will order this as soon I get that.
I made a kit with the 350 Watt gear motor. I had to change the wheel sprocket from 44 tooth to 36 tooth because the 350 Watt gear motor has a lower gear ratio and with the 44 tooth sprocket the top speed would have been 2.5 MPH. With the 36 tooth sprocket the top speed is 3.13 MPH.

Here is the link to the kit with 350 Watt motor: https://cart.electricscooterparts.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=KIT-143

 

Please let me know if you have any questions or would like any changes made to the kit.


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