Automation is not be the only innovative path the agricultural machinery world is headed down. Fendt unveiled an all-electric tractor — the e100 Vario — this fall, and had it on display at Agritechnica in Hanover, Germany.
“We’ve removed the diesel engine and the diesel tank and have installed an electric motor with a 100kWh battery, a completely new cooling system with a heat pump, and a lot of newer software,” explains Wolfgang Breu of Fendt in the video below.
The compact tractor operates on a 650 volt, lithium-ion battery. With a 50kW power output, he says the e100 can operate for up to five hours on a single charge. An electric heat pump provides air conditioning for the cab, as well as the battery and electronics.
When needed, the machine is charged through one of two options:
- A standard CEE outdoor socket, delivering 400V, and up to 22kW for a five-hour charge, or
- A standard CCS type 2 plug — the standard for charging electric cars in Europe — which can recharge up to 80 percent in 40 minutes.
The tractor has the capability to work with conventional or electric implements. Its weight is similar to a diesel tractor of the same size and the tractor is equipped with Fendt’s standard CVT transmission, says Breu.
Fendt sees the machine being used for yard tasks and by municipal governments, where the tractor is only working for a few hours every day. The company notes the reduced noise from the electric motor also make it ideal for urban environments.
Breu says all-electric is currently not feasible for high horsepower tractors. “With big tractors, for example the 1000 series with 500 horsepower, working up to 12 hours with 50 percent load, you would need a battery that weighs 15 tonnes,” he says.
Breu says they plan to build between 5 and 20 e100 Vario tractors for testing with customers in 2018.
RealAgriculture’s Kelvin Heppner caught up with Wolfgang Breu of Fendt, at Agritechnica in Hanover, Germany. RealAgriculture’s coverage of Agritechnica is brought to you by Dow AgroSciences.