The e3 SHV is Gerrard’s second electric vehicle design.
By Jonathan Killick
Warkworth engineer Gerrard Merrick says his three-wheel electric all terrain vehicles are leaving quad bikes in the dust.
He says they are far safer and able to tackle much tougher terrain.
His latest invention is an electric “specialist horticultural vehicle” (SHV), designed with kiwifruit and avocado growers in mind.
He says a string of quad bike accidents a few years ago prompted a major industry player to get in contact with him about his ultra-stable ATVs.
Last month, Gerrard presented the prototype for his specialised electric e3 SHV to an orchard in Maungatapere, and is planning to get in front of as many harvesting and packing companies as possible in the coming months.
The secret to their stability is the three-wheel design, which ensures at least one wheel is stabilising the vehicle at all times, even on steep and contoured inclines.
“Just like a tripod in photography, it’s much more stable.”
The e3 SHV also features an electric adjustable seat, which allows easy access to overhead kiwifruit vines of varying heights.
Gerrard believes that his new SHV will change the way that growers all over the world pollinate and test their vines.
A single overnight charge costs approximately 73 cents and allows the vehicle to travel up to 40km.
Gerrard collaborated with notable Warkworth engineer Mike Smith on the design to ensure it could be easily manufactured in reasonable quantities.
Mike has contacts among orchard growers and agents overseas in California, France and Italy, which will help to the get the product offshore.
It’s also being tested by a local paraplegic woman as a solution for paralysed owners of lifestyle blocks.
Since Gerrard released his first electric ATV in 2014, his vehicles have been gaining a reputation.
He says all of the vehicles he has sold are still in service with the original owners.
“There are fewer moving parts, so they last longer and are more reliable than a typical work vehicle,” he says.
Gerrard challenges potential farming customers during demonstrations to match what he can do on his ATV on their quad bike, and he always wins.
His original e3 ATV can tackle inclines up to 40 degrees in pitch and is able to travel up to 60km/h.
This reporter took a ride and can confirm the vehicle is something of a motorised mountain goat.
The inclines and contoured slopes it traversed at speed were so extreme that if it were not for the sturdy seat belt, the passenger would have tumbled out of the vehicle and down the hill.