A Solar-Powered Amish Buggy!

Thanks to ecoblogger George Mokray for this piece of coolness:

Illinois inventor/entrepreneur Larry Yoder has retrofitted an old Amish buggy to run on the electricity generated by the solar panels on the roof. At 10′ long by 6 1/2 ‘ wide, it’s longer and wider than the traditional model, and has a crushed velvet interior offering a comfortable ride for up to six passengers.

Its solar-driven 1 hp motor replaces the solar-driven 1 hp horse which was formerly the power source for these vehicles, and like horses, it has its own cruise control. The thing has a 50-mile range and its own GPS, too.

With no equine rear quarters obstructing the view up front and the front window popped out for natural air conditioning, the vista is wide and the breeze is sweet as Yoder deftly steers with a kind of tiller system he dreamed up to replace the reins.

“Everybody is like, ‘Whoa,’ when they see this,” says Yoder’s wife, Pat. “And, oh yeah, everybody wants a ride. Everybody.”

Which includes the ever-curious Amish. The Yoders like to spend part of the winter in Florida, and they live in an area close by Amish families who have joined them to chase the shouting wind along in fun horseless carriage excursions. Pat Yoder even entertains ideas that her husband’s invention could be the perfect retirement vehicle for older Amish who don’t have the physical resources to corral live horses anymore for their transport needs.

“I guess it’s all up to the Amish bishops, if they would allow it or not,” says Pat Yoder. “But a solar-powered buggy could be a nice alternative for them.”

Her husband isn’t holding his breath on that one but has already had serious interest from non-Amish fellow entrepreneurs who are eying a stretched horseless carriage as a unique wedding vehicle. Yoder is also in demand to make guest appearances in parades and has driven it as far as Arthur, seven miles away from his home base near Sullivan, where he is president of the family firm Yoder Farm Drainage.


“I’ve talked to the police about it, and they look at it and say, ‘Well, it’s sort of a buggy, but you don’t have a horse,’ ” recalls Yoder. “I just tell them ‘Oh, my horse? It ran away.’ ”


The buggy has yet to be adopted by any of the Plain folk. Oh well.

The Amish people are not generally allowed to play any instruments, although some groups permit the harmonica. Instrumental virtuosity is considered vainglorious (I can understand that). Amish music is almost entirely singing, and almost entirely religious singing:

Amish church songs are taken from the High German songbook known as the Ausbund. The Ausbund contains no musical notes, and tunes are shared from one generation to the next. Songs in the Ausbund recall the martyr history of Anabaptist forefathers.

Singing in church is typically slow, with drawn-out notes. Singing may last half-an-hour or more to open the church service.


Some Amish teens install stereos and speakers in their buggies. Amish parents take different views of these practices and, like any parents, don’t necessarily condone their children’s behavior. Others see less of a danger in youthful indulgence in pop music.


I want video of Amish youth with stereo speakers in their buggies.

Here is some of the lovely choral singing of the Plain people:

Song – Lift Your Glad Voices Song #138 with lyrics

Amish Mennonites singing, “My Heart was Distressed” with Lyrics

The building of the School for Sequoia Bible Fellowship

4/8/2010 At my uncle Sam Swareys funeral vistitation in Guthrie,Kentucky the Amish girls and youth sang this song “There’s a City Of Light”,a very fitting song for the tragic occasion.One of my favorites growing up Amish! The purpose of this video is to show the Amish really are a peace loving,nonrestistant group following and practicing God’s word.

One of the buggies rolling down main street today was a bit different though–from far off, it looked like any other gray-topped Lancaster vehicle; as it drew nearer, there was no missing the rock music pumping out of the on-board stereo, bass speakers kicking hard in the back.

For some young Amish, Sundays after church is cruising time, and the two lads inside were taking full advantage of their chance to ‘run around’ a bit.


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