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Diesel electric versus battery power

There are manufacturers pursuing the battery vehicle drive route commercially, including Kramer of Germany.

Previous tractor electrification projects have focused on diesel-electric hybrids or the inclusion of electricity-generating capability on an otherwise standard diesel-engined tractor to power auxiliary systems and implements.

Swiss manufacturer RigiTrac produced a research hybrid of its four-wheel drive tractor, powered by a 91 kW (126 hp) Deutz engine and with a 650V DC, 85 kW generator driving individual wheel motors.

Autonomous Tractor Corporation — the company behind the Spirit self-driving tractor — offers the 400 hp eDrive diesel-electric conversion for John Deere articulated tractors.

In 2009, Belarus tractor maker MTZ unveiled a 295 hp tractor with 172 kW of DC electrical power for auxiliaries and the front power take-off, while at the same Agritechnica show in Germany, Deere revealed its E-Premium tractors with generating capacity for implement drives.

Fendt has also explored this approach through its X Concept tractor with 130 kW of electrical power transmitted to implements as a 700V DC supply. And OEMs can buy this facility off the shelf in the shape of ZF’s Terramatic semi-powershift transaxle incorporating the Terra+ generator package.

But there are already manufacturers pursuing the battery vehicle drive route commercially, including Kremer Energie of France with its 80 kW (110 bhp) straddle tractor.

German manufacturer Meyer has introduced a Siloking battery-powered self-propelled feed mixer, and wheeled loader makers Avant Tecno, Weidemann and Kramer all now have electrically-powered machines with zero emissions, minimal noise and smooth driving characteristics.

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