Tractor News Viable Electric Tractor?

bearthebruce

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Jul 26, 2018
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Property is in Floyd County VA
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'05 Massey Ferguson MF1533
Is quite an unheralded achievement how Tesla packs a 400 kW motor controller in a package about the size of a 5 gallon bucket.
Agreed. 20 years ago, I delivered a 300KW power supply for a vacuum furnace - There were 6 units total delivering 1.2MWatts to this furnace (not all sections were 300KW). The 300KW section was not water cooled but air cooled. The heat sinks measured 24"x36"x8" with rather large fans moving air across them.

I am impressed by what Tesla and others are doing in terms of KW/cu inch. It takes some really solid design to have the power density they are achieving.

EV technology will continue to evolve. 20 more years, the frame of the machine may be the battery given the work being done with Carbon Fibre constructs. Read an article on that yesterday. They are working to get the power density up while providing structural members of a vehicle - no more battery tray is the goal. The battery is the internal structural cage - distributing the weight and making the vehicle lighter.

Big Breakthrough for “Massless” Energy Storage: Structural Battery That Performs 10x Better Than All Previous Versions – SciTechDaily
 

PuffyC

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Nov 5, 2020
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387
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Oklahoma
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Deere 3032e
their value system is very much different from the West's values
That is the truth. I don’t like making cultural generalizations but from my experience with both China and India, they tend to view things we might call cheating as simply being smarter than the other guy. It’s not seen as immoral or wrong. That goes for everything from university degrees to product development. IOW, if you’re smart enough to cheat the other guy and get away with it then it’s the other guys fault for not being as smart or clever as you are. But as to why they own manufacturing, it’s hard to compete with a billion people willing to work tirelessly for $2 a day.
 

GB540

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Jun 1, 2013
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3
Location
Somewhere, WI
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Green, Red, Orange
A battery tractor so I can spend big money on a battery every 10 years and only run half a day at a time. No thanks.

Spend big money on repairs and be down half the time? Sounds like the current diesels with emissions! 💸

I'm in the market for a 70-100 hp utility tractor, and would buy electric in a minute if it meant not fighting all the mandated emissions stuff. Some will say "Then find a good old used one!" or "Delete all the EPA junk!" but neither are an option at this point.

For what a diesel motor and all the emissions hardware costs, I don't see why a utility-sized machine couldn't be electric for almost a wash in price. It'll be a while before we see a viable electric in say a row crop tractor that needs to cover thousands of acres and run around the clock. But for a utility that sees moderate use and doesn't venture far from the buildings, one would think electric could work.
 

MiserableOldFart

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Jun 27, 2006
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447
Location
Delaware County Catskills NY
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NH Workmaster 40, Kubota GR2120
Eco-friendly my patoot. They just burn the fuel in a different location and transport it inefficiently to the battery charger.
You are about 250% wrong on that score. Even when using juice from coal burning plants, EVs are cleaner than ICE vehicles, and that's for gasoline. For diesel, it's probably better still. EVs and even ETs will be the wave of the future. Much depends on your age. I'm 70, and likely will miss out for the most part, but 10 years from now, the cost of parts for diesel compacts will make it impossible for them to compete with electrics. Battery weight is a plus in many tractor applications, unlike for cars. But one thing you failed to consider: With the price of rooftop solar going down all the time, anyone who is going to blow $25K or more on an ET should certainly be considering rooftop solar to power their EVs and ETs. And don't forget the extra trips to town for diesel and lugging it filling the tractor etc - no more.
Maintenance of ETs will be much less. How many gallons does a HST tractor need in hydro fluid? An ET would only need enough for hydraulic implements. There's like 5-10 gallons less of oil every 300 hours or so. No transmission to worry about. Probably no complicated clutches either. Electric tractors are the future for those under 60 years of age now, and it's an exciting one!
Disclaimer: I have a massive, lol, investment of $500 in Solectrac.

I don't remember the Solectrac machines being 15 hp, either. Is that something new? I was under the impression that they have two modes, 30 and 40 hp equivalent.
 

4570Man

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Crossville, TN
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Kubota M59, Kubota L3800, Grasshopper 428D, Topkick dump truck, 3500 dump truck, 10 ton trailer, more lighter trailers.
Spend big money on repairs and be down half the time? Sounds like the current diesels with emissions!

I'm in the market for a 70-100 hp utility tractor, and would buy electric in a minute if it meant not fighting all the mandated emissions stuff. Some will say "Then find a good old used one!" or "Delete all the EPA junk!" but neither are an option at this point.

For what a diesel motor and all the emissions hardware costs, I don't see why a utility-sized machine couldn't be electric for almost a wash in price. It'll be a while before we see a viable electric in say a row crop tractor that needs to cover thousands of acres and run around the clock. But for a utility that sees moderate use and doesn't venture far from the buildings, one would think electric could work.

There no electric to date that can work even half a day at full power. And most farm and construction machinery isn’t being hauled in every night to charge. Are you going to haul a generator out or stick a solar panel in top and hope the stars charge it by the next morning?
 

ning

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Joined
Mar 30, 2017
Messages
1,514
Location
Northern California
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Branson 3520h
disclaimer: I'm not in Ag, and this doesn't apply to continuously working tractors

A *lot* of the time on my tractor is effectively idling. With emissions stuff, you can't take advantage of diesels using next to no fuel at idle, even my tractor wants some heat for the DPF and even jumping off for 20 seconds to open a gate is wasted fuel.

An electric can be almost zero power usage whenever you don't need it to be moving; that's going to be a big win.

Personally I think there's going to be ag tractors with big interchangeable batteries and a battery charging & changing station. Getting low? Drive over, pull a level and push a button and it swaps batteries for you and starts charging the other one. There's your 150kW "fill-up" in a minute or two.
 

aczlan

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Mar 7, 2008
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Northern Fingerlakes region of NY, USA
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Case 480F LL, Kubota L3830GST, B7500HST, BX2660
disclaimer: I'm not in Ag, and this doesn't apply to continuously working tractors

A *lot* of the time on my tractor is effectively idling. With emissions stuff, you can't take advantage of diesels using next to no fuel at idle, even my tractor wants some heat for the DPF and even jumping off for 20 seconds to open a gate is wasted fuel.

An electric can be almost zero power usage whenever you don't need it to be moving; that's going to be a big win.

Personally I think there's going to be ag tractors with big interchangeable batteries and a battery charging & changing station. Getting low? Drive over, pull a level and push a button and it swaps batteries for you and starts charging the other one. There's your 150kW "fill-up" in a minute or two.
The problem is that the charging station to get a battery that big charged before the next ones runs out will need to be a large 3 phase charging station and will cost at least 20k (and you will need them all over the place to have one near where you are working).
Even if you have the 480V 3 phase available all over the place (its flat out not available in many rural areas), now you have to haul a charger and battery around and hope no vandals have messed with your connection to the grid.

Aaron Z
 

bearthebruce

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Jul 26, 2018
Messages
295
Location
Property is in Floyd County VA
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'05 Massey Ferguson MF1533
Personally I think there's going to be ag tractors with big interchangeable batteries and a battery charging & changing station

The problem is that the charging station to get a battery that big charged before the next ones runs out will need to be a large 3 phase charging station
Gentlemen, I think you both have good points. There will be different machines for different markets: the light use device for maintaining land, and the heavy use device for farming. One may be electric and the other may remain an ICE driven machine. Time will tell.

If nothing else, this idea of electric tractors is an interesting concept. I look forward to watching what evolves.

As an EE, I like the idea of an electric machine although I see many drawbacks. One of the things I have always loved about being a technical engineer applying science to solve problems is the fun of identifying the best approach to solving. There are so many ways to solve a problem. Finding the definition of "best" has always been the challenge.

Finding a "best" solution to replacing the ICE based machines is the challenge here also. If we can do it while improving the environment, is that not a win? It also has to be practical and economical. It is an interesting problem to solve.
 

chim

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Lancaster County, PA
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Kubota L4240, Ford 1210
Dear MOF,

Even when using juice from coal burning plants, EVs are cleaner than ICE vehicles, and that's for gasoline. For diesel, it's probably better still.

Yep. If you only look for an exhaust pipe. There's an awful lot of Mother Earth being ruined in the race for batteries, solar panels and other stuff. Check this report:


EVs and even ETs will be the wave of the future. Much depends on your age. I'm 70, and likely will miss out for the most part, but 10 years from now, the cost of parts for diesel compacts will make it impossible for them to compete with electrics.

I'm 71 and have seen predictions of global cooling, global warming, lunar colonies, depletion of oil and gas, etc. And don't forget flying cars. Many of these had "scientists" behind the claims.

Battery weight is a plus in many tractor applications, unlike for cars.

Some owners complain their small tractors weigh too much already.

But one thing you failed to consider: With the price of rooftop solar going down all the time, anyone who is going to blow $25K or more on an ET should certainly be considering rooftop solar to power their EVs and ETs.

It would require a lot of study, but it's possible that if one were to spend many thousands of dollars on a solar roof it may be more beneficial to sell your power to the grid and buy diesel anyway.

And don't forget the extra trips to town for diesel and lugging it filling the tractor etc - no more.

I don't make extra trips for diesel, milk or bread. If you run the batteries too low out on the lower 40, phone someone to bring you a gallon of electrons:)

Maintenance of ETs will be much less. How many gallons does a HST tractor need in hydro fluid? An ET would only need enough for hydraulic implements. There's like 5-10 gallons less of oil every 300 hours or so. No transmission to worry about. Probably no complicated clutches either.

There could be fewer moving parts in an EV, but batteries don't last forever and we all know how expensive it is to have more electronics that are on board. the HVAC on an EV may be interesting to maintain in the long run.

Electric tractors are the future for those under 60 years of age now, and it's an exciting one! Disclaimer: I have a massive, lol, investment of $500 in Solectrac.

Your dream might not be realistic, but go with it if it makes you happy:) I'd congratulate you if that $500 turns into $5,000,000.
 
 
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