John Deere's Electric Concept Tractor Sparks Interest

December 13, 2016 03:32 PM

The tech geeks of the world are all talking this week about a John Deere announcement and video that the company plans to unveil a fully electric, high-power tractor at next February’s Paris International Agribusiness Show. Company officials say the tractor has “the features and functionality of a classic tractor, while providing the benefits of electricity.”

The tractor, dubbed the Sustainable Energy Supply for Agricultural Machinery (SESAM), is still strictly in concept phase. In a French press release, John Deere notes the tractor has two independent electric motors – one for driving, and one for the PTO shaft and hydraulic system.

“When the tractor is stationary, there is no energy loss,” according to the press release. “It produces no emissions and virtually no noise. Currently, a full battery charge can work about four hours in normal use or drive around 55 km on the road. The charging time for it approaches three hours. The lifespan of the battery is approximately 2,100 charge cycles.”

Electrek, a news site that tracks the transition from fossil fuel transportation to electric and other “clean” energy sources, says this concept plugs into a larger industry trend.

“At Electrek, we firmly believe that all forms of ground transport will start to transition to electric propulsion relatively soon,” writes reporter Fred Lambert. “That includes large tractors for agriculture, as demonstrated by John Deere’s latest all-electric tractor concept.

As a farmer commented on the automotive blog Jalopnik, the concept might require some fine-tuning before the agriculture industry embraces it.

“I love the concept as we are always trying to find ways to be more ‘green,’” he writes. “My concern is that in modern farming I sometimes have to drive the tractor 10-20 miles from my maintenance shop to the next field. That doesn’t leave me a whole lot of energy to actually plow my 120 acres and then drive back. There aren’t very many charging stations out in the middle of nowhere.”

Want to see the tractor in action? John Deere France released the following YouTube video, which has amassed more than 125,000 views in less than three weeks.

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Spell Check

Summer Help
Austin, TX
12/14/2016 08:25 AM

  On big activity days (like planting or harvest with storms coming in) 3 hours charging is big downtime. So having a swappable battery pack would be a big help. Especially if pack was field mountable and could be loaded on back of pickup for transportation. But even swapping at fixed recharge sation would be workable on many smaller farms. Speaking of rain...need to make sure heavy operations in the wet or even submerged in creeks doing agricultural dirt road maintenance is practical. That vibrations don't open seals on batteries. Dry farming only is limited application on US or worldwide market.

Iowa, IA
12/14/2016 01:38 PM

  What a joke. I spent 10 to 12 hours a day in the field this fall and still barely got done. 4 hours "normal" work time and then 3 hour charge. If you do a charge twice a day to put in a 8 hour day the 2100 charging cycles doesn't last very long. Add the fact that batteries don't last as long after a while and around that 1000th charging cycle you might only be able to get 2 to 3 hours of "normal" working time. Ill keep my soyDiesel. That's what im growing anyways.

Gregory White
Grand Rapids, MN
12/14/2016 09:28 AM



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