John Deere has made a move toward deploying more electric battery power in its machines with the acquisition of Austrian battery company Kreisel Electric.
Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but Deere has signed an agreement to acquire majority ownership of the company that makes high-density, immersion-cooled electric batteries and the related charging infrastructure.
Kreisel currently has customers in the commercial vehicle, marine and off-road markets. The company has also gained some publicity by providing high-performance batteries for motorsports, including rally cars and speedboats. In 2017, former California governor and Austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger promoted a prototype electric Hummer that’s powered by Kreisel’s batteries.
Deere says its turf equipment, compact utility tractors, small tractors, compact construction, and some road building equipment could rely on batteries as a primary power source. Demand is also growing for hybrid-propulsion systems in off-road machines, the company says.
“Kreisel’s battery technology can be applied across the broad portfolio of Deere products, and Kreisel’s in-market experience will benefit Deere as we ramp up our battery-electric vehicle portfolio. Deere will provide the expertise, global footprint, and funding to enable Kreisel to continue its fast growth in core markets,” said Pierre Guyot, Senior Vice President, John Deere Power Systems. “This is an opportunity to invest in a company with unique technology that’s designed for the demanding conditions where Deere customers work.
The acquisition will allow Deere to “optimally integrate vehicle and powertrain designs around high-density battery packs while leveraging Kreisel’s charging technology to build out infrastructure required for customer adoption.”
Guyot says the acquisition will also help Deere move toward zero emissions propulsion systems for its equipment.
The companies say Kreisel Electric will retain its name and its approximately 160 employees, and continue to operate from its current location in Austria.