Farm Equipment Cost Reduction Through Tractor Drivetrain Electrification

 

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  • Like many times in its history the agriculture machine industry is at the verge of a paradigm shift as farmers are urgently seeking more cost-effective solutions driven by low commodity prices for conventional corn, soybeans and wheat.
  • While many improvements have been made to improve the tractor since its inception it is still basically an internal combustion driven vehicle with the same design configuration except for the addition of front-assist and four-wheel drive. Of course, significant improvements have been made in engine power, emissions and fuel efficiency along with improvements in transmission systems and driver comfort.
  • Electrifying farm tractor propulsion and power generation has the potential to reduce or eliminate dependence on foreign fuels, emission of green house gases, and emission of pollutants. However, finding a cost-effective pathway to gain widespread adoption and provide a significant impact is proving to be a challenging endeavor for OEMs, Tier 1 Suppliers and Startups.
  • In this review we look at the options for electrification of tractor drivetrains and recent attempts by OEMS, Tier 1 Suppliers and Startups to develop cost-effective solutions for widespread adoption in the global farm equipment market.
  • i. Problems Facing Farmer
  • ii. Farm Equipment Platform: Current and Future Cost Reduction Through Electrification of Tractor Drivetrains
  • iii. Contact

Rather than build electric tractors from scratch like the automotive industry has done after initially retrofitting several stock models most of the farm equipment OEMs have decided to follow the same path by integrating different electric drive architectures into their existing mechanical drivetrains. As an OEM, only Rigitrac has opted for a completely different wheel drive system.

  • Belarus/RuselProm 3022e (2009) Concept Tractor
  • CaseIH MXM 155 ProHybrid EECVT (2005) Concept Tractor
  • Claas 650 Arion Hybrid (2015) Concept Tractor
  • New Holland Nh2 Hybrid (2009) Concept Tractor
  • John Deere SESAM (2016) Concept Tractor
  • Fendt E-100 Vario (2017) Production Tractor
  • Escort Farmtrac Electric Tractor (2017) Concept Tractor
  • RigiTrac EWD 120 (2011) Concept Tractor

 

Startup companies with no legacy platforms have opted to design an electric drive/tractor from scratch. Both are marketing wheel-based e-drives as a stand-alone solution or within their tractor.

  • ATC eDrive System, 2013 Commercial Prototype
  • Multi Tool Trac e-Tractor, 2015 Commercial Prototype Tractor