John Deere is evidently working to develop viable electric-drive systems for future-generation tractors.
Publisher Electrive.com has just revealed news of the machinery giant's latest endeavours in this area.
It appears that John Deere, through the GridCON research project, is developing a new breed of agricultural machine.
It's best described as an electric tractor that relies on an extension cord instead of an on-board battery.
The tractor is also autonomous (driver-less) and does not need a traditional cab.
Avoiding the cable
An automatic routing system is designed to ensure that the tractor does not trample its own power cable, when turning and manoeuvring in the field. In other words, the front-mounted reeler is controlled automatically to ensure that the power cable is kept clear of the tractor (and any implement mounted on the back) at all times.
This cable feeds from the electricity grid.
According to Electrive.com, the machine was tested in the field for the first time this year by engineers at John Deere’s European Technology Innovation Center in Kaiserslautern (Germany).
A video, showing the tractor in action during these tests, is available by clicking on his link.
The tractor is reportedly home to a 100kW all-electric drive-train; 200kW (electric power) off-boarding is available for implements on the rear.
The tractor can also be controlled manually (by an operator) via a wireless remote-control terminal - when the need arises (presumably when transporting the tractor or when shunting it on or off a low-loader).
According to outlet Cleantechnica.com, it is possible to equip the tractor with up to 1km of cable - to enable it to work across a relatively large area (before the next field-to-field movement is needed).