Electric tractors have been a rarity in farming so far. But that has to change quickly if it is up to Soletrac. It confidently ventures into this fairly conservative segment with a 52kW tractor with a replaceable battery that can last up to eight hours.
For a long time, the e70N could only be pre-ordered. But the Californian start-up can now also deliver the e70N. So far, three local California farms and vineyards have chosen Solectrac’s e70N tractor. It is not Solectrac’s first electric tractor. For this project, Soletrac received funding through the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s Funding Agriculture Replacement Measures for Emission Reductions Demonstration Program (FARMER). This program covers up to 80 percent of the costs for farmers to replace diesel tractors with less polluting alternatives. For now, the Soletrac e70N is only offered in the United States and Canada.
Mani Iyer, a veteran of the agriculture and construction industry, was recently named CEO of Solectrac. Iyer considers the e70N to be “another innovative breakthrough in electric tractors from Solectrac, this time targeting commercial level, heavy agricultural and vineyard work”. Iyer added that the tractor is in high demand. Many farmers strive for less emissions and less noise pollution. But they also need increasingly larger, more powerful vehicles that are easy to maneuver. Yiers also pointed to the interchangeable battery pack of the e70N. This enables even longer availability in busy seasons.
The electric e70N is quite compact: 3.66 meters long, 1.37 m wide and 2.54 meters high including roll bar. This makes the electric tractor particularly suitable for use on plantations, orchards and vineyards. The hydraulic installation at the rear of the e70N has a lifting capacity of over 900 kilos.
Battery after four to eight hours of use on the charger
Soletrac supplies the e70N available with four-wheel drive and the 60 kWh battery should be good for up to eight hours of use. The range is usually not a decisive factor with an agricultural machine. The time that a machine can be used is much more important. That time will of course strongly depend on the intensity of use. With consistent intensive use, the battery will have to be recharged after about four hours. The e70N can be charged at a 220 V/50 A connection according to Soletrac in about six hours. So here the batteries still have disadvantages compared to the classic diesel tractors.
Battery also interchangeable
But there is also a solution for that. Soletrac also offers the n70N with an exchangeable battery. This means that the tractor can be back to work in a few minutes with a fully charged battery. The batteries that are not used at that time can then serve as buffer storage for a solar system such as many farmers have and can also be charged in this way.
In addition, the e70N has a bi-directional V2X charging socket. With the battery, it can therefore also supply external electrical devices with power.