Electric Tractors: The Future Of Agriculture
The shift we are seeing of the phasing out of petrol and diesel cars isn’t leaving the big vehicles behind. There has been an increase in the interest of electric tractors and as countries begin to legally phase out older, petrol and diesel cars with the ban of their sale, Tractors aren’t far behind with the same countries currently considering this.
The most recognizable benefit of the introduction of electric tractors into the agricultural sector is the environmental benefits. With Global Agriculture being guilty for 8.5% of greenhouse gas emissions and with domestic agriculture and horticulture also being largely responsible, in the UK producing 10% of all UK greenhouse gas emission. There is a clear need for these numbers to be significantly reduced. This impact on the environment is being felt around the world with the majority of countries highly relying on agriculture, there is a push for a cleaner method in this industry. This is shown by government funded incentives for the use of electric tractors and vehicles within this industry in some American States, Like California.
One company advocating for the implementation of electrical technology to improve the current climate crisis we are facing is Monarch. Their Battery powered tractor follows the general consensus of similar companies and have developed a compact tractor with swappable batteries to extend the length of operation. Their tractors feature the ability to have optional drivers which with the current labor shortages can be a game changer for the future of agriculture.
An additional benefit derived from all electric powered equipment in comparison to traditional diesel motors is the difference in sound. According to Solectrac, a manufacturer of electric tractors, traditional tractor produce almost 100 decibels of sound at full power which can have a huge impact on hearing and can lead to permanent damaged when exposed for longer periods of time. In comparison an electric tractor produces almost no noise, leading to healthier hearing and in general, happier neighbors. However, this generalization is not going to be applicable to every make and model of electric tractors.
A large challenge for manufacturers of electric tractors lies in their battery capacity. With the amount of power required to sustain a fully operational tractor being much larger than typical batteries alongside the restriction of Tractors being essential and time sensitive equipment whose users cannot practically afford long charging times; a compromise is still being discovered.
An example of a compromise John Deere found, in 2019 released details on it’s GridCON Tractor, Not its first electric tractor but this one is specifically designed for long, heavy duty applications. It features a long power cable but will only be available to be used by farmers who are able to produce their own electricity via the use of solar panels, manure digesters or windmills, limiting its access to the everyday farmer.
Since then John Deere has developed this idea and built a fully electric, fully automated large-scale farming operation using these tractors. Brining into reality the alterations to the large scale farming industry that this new technology can bring.
Another Challenge that the electric tractors face over the conventional fuel powered is the price. With Tractors already being a hefty investment, farmers would not like to hear the additional figures typically added onto battery powered ones. This however will be due to their nature of being newer, more progressive, their additional features and their difficulty and cost to manufacture. However, they are still a larger investment upfront for lower operating costs in the long run so depending on the frequency of your use you may be lowering your yearly costs.
The price difference between traditional diesel and electric is primarily due to the cost of battery’s, however as batteries are mass-produced for the car industry as it develops worldwide, the price will be set to come down. As well as this, the rising popularity and government schemes for the development of battery powered cars will lead to further research on the ability and limits of battery power which will provide further benefits to the future of electrical tractors.
To aid in the price sensitive aspects of the introduction of these electric tractors as well as providing domestic farmers with access to emission free machinery is Farmtrac. Launched in 2020, the release of their all electric FT25G tractor which is able to be charged from a domestic socket with up to 6 hours of runtime allows access to green machinery for smaller farms, greenhouses and equestrians.
Although some professionals in the industry are still waiting for further advancements in battery powered technology and its capabilities before they make the switch, for some we are already there. The purchase of one of these machines will be entirely dependent on the current capabilities of the machine in comparison to your specific requirements for use. However, for many, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. For those looking for a compact tractor which will save money over time for use in smaller applications then Farmtrac is already there with the technology to provide you with the cleaner, just as powerful equivalent to their fueled alternatives.
Gammies is a proud Farmtrac retailer, Browse our Range of Farmtracs now.