Let's Get Weird with (Electric) Lawn Mowers

Updated: Dec 4, 2021

Electric Ryobi Riding Mower, Off-Road Version
My electric off-road mower fantasy, Ryobi Wan Kenobi.

Everything costs too much money these days. The price of lumber has skyrocketed. You can barely feed two hungry people at a fast food joint for less than fifteen bucks. And it's grown exceedingly difficult to find a new car or truck for less than $20,000. Forget finding a new one with some off-road chops at that price point. They simply don't exist anymore.

What you do have a vast selection from which to choose for less than $20,000, however, are lawn mowers. Shoot, $20k gets you a an entire lawn care business or a good 4WD tractor, so let's lower our sites a little bit... or a lot. How about $5,000? That's still plenty of cash for a darn fine riding mower and then some.

But we're looking for electric riding lawn mowers, so our options are somewhat limited. Not only are we looking at off-the-shelf electric riding mowers, but we're also looking to take these hogs... off road. That, mis amigos, will require some ingenuity (free) and some modifications (not free) - meaning more money.

Anyhow, here's the goal: a doggone decent, trail-conquering, all-terrain, electric, riding lawn mower for less than $5,000 all-in. The machine has to be able to still function as a mower at the end of the day; but for off-roading purposes, the mower deck may be removed.

I know what some of you are thinking. I can hear it right now. "Man, that's stupid! Five thousand dollarydoos could buy you one heck of a mud-slinging, hill-climbing quad!" Well, maybe in your universe, PAL! But this is MY domain, got it?! My fantasy land. My rules. My irrational desire to off-road the hell out of some electric lawn mowers.

So... what do you say? Challenge accepted?

Head over to the forum and let us know how you'd build yours. Choose your make. Choose your model. Choose your mods. Even if you never build it, let us know how you would if you could.

Ryobi RM480e electric riding lawn mower
Ryobi RM480e (Image: Ryobi)

My plan is a simple one. I'd start with the little 38-inch wide Ryobi electric riding mower with the 100 Ah battery. Its tiny footprint could be great for tight trails. Another nice thing about these little guys is that the mower deck is very easily removed and re-installed, so it could maintain its intended purpose as, ya know, a mower. Anyhow, I'd throw on some big, super lug tires, remove the mower deck, and see how far that would take me. Eventually, I'd love to add a small bed or cargo rack over the rear and a utility basket up front too. If I get to feeling frisky, I might add a full suspension set up and a roll-over protection system to the little rig too. Maybe even 4WD. In any case, it shall be known as... Ryobi Wan Kenobi.

Ryobi electric off-road riding mower
Ryobi Wan Kenobi: Stage 1

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