Crowds have assembled in Hanover, Germany, for Agritechnica - the world's largest indoor farm machinery show.

At this sprawling event, Fendt - the well-known German tractor and machinery manufacturer - is showcasing a 'bright spark' of innovation from its engineering division.

Fendt claims that its e100 Vario is the first practical, battery-powered tractor that can be used in most day-to-day yard operations without having to be recharged multiple times each day.

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The e100 Vario is an all-electric compact tractor with a power output of 50kW (circa 67hp). It can apparently operate for up to five continuous hours under “real and actual” conditions.

Moving away from the diesel tank

Powered by a 650V lithium-ion battery with a capacity of around 100kWh, the battery is charged either with 400V and up to 22kW via a CEE outdoor socket, or by a supercharging option.

With a CCS Type 2 plug, the battery can supposedly be recharged up to 80% in just 40 minutes.

Fendt says that its e100 Vario is compatible with conventional as well as electrified implements. The tractor is fitted with two AEF-compliant power interfaces for electrical equipment. A short-term boost of up to 150kW for such implements can be provided by the battery.


What about the PTO?

A standard PTO connection is also available, as well as the usual hydraulic supply (via remote spool valves) to implements.

“Precise control” of electrically-powered implements (which exist but are, as yet, relatively rare) is promised – thanks to the tractor’s own electrical drive system.

The maximum torque for the PTO, for example, is available from a standing start. Safety, according to Fendt, is “assured” by an insulated design and ongoing electronic system monitoring.

A regulated, electrical heat pump performs the task of air conditioning the cab, as well as controlling the temperature of the battery and electronics.

Energy management, including the tractor’s battery information, can be monitored via a smartphone. Functions such as pre-heating in winter or air conditioning in summer can be controlled in advance, when the tractor is connected to the mains supply.

What are the key benefits of such a tractor?

Maintenance work and costs are reduced, says Fendt. Consumables such as engine oil, filters, AdBlue and diesel are a thing of the past. The e100 Vario is also very quiet.

The e100 Vario will be out and about around Europe in 2018 in limited numbers, initially on farms and in local authorities.