The move to EV technology on the farm has begun as smaller electric tractors go to work in vineyards and specialty crops in North America and Europe. Based on existing technology and insights provided by equipment manufacturers and dealers, the Ag Equipment Intelligence 2022 report provided this 5-year outlook on which battery-powered equipment might become commonplace on farms based on a likelihood scale of 1-10 (1 = Not Likely and 10 = Highly Likely).
Barn & Stall Cleaning/Material Handling — 10
The lack of exhaust noise and fumes make compact EV tractors in the 20-70 horsepower range ideal for indoor scraping and hauling duties. As electric lifts and actuators are developed, these tractors may well dominate such work in livestock barns, horse arenas and confined feeding operations.
Landscaping — 10
Major OEMs are developing electric backhoe tractors capable of front-end loader use as well as excavation. Duty cycles of these medium-size machines are likely to be quite sufficient to operate throughout a typical construction site day with intermittent use allowing for cooling and charging.
Rural Lifestyle Use — 10
In all but the heaviest mowing and lifting chores, EV tractors will likely see their highest adoption rates on acreages and small hobby farms. As on-site charging infrastructure is developed, owners will be able to charge their EVs with small to mid-size solar arrays or wind turbines, plus use the EV’s battery storage as backup home and barn power through V2G technology.
ATV/Lawn Mowing — 10
Several ATV/utility vehicle manufacturers currently offer EV models capable of day-long use. Similarly, electric lawn mowers of various designs are bringing quiet, exhaust-free operation to residential and acreage maintenance chores.
Livestock Feeding — 10
EV tractors expected to account for nearly a quarter of the offerings by 2027 are sized to handle light feeding chores and forage hauling duties.
Mowing — 10
Current small-to-midsize electric tractors are capable of mowing chores with roughly half-day run times to allow for cooling or battery swaps. Such machines range from 50-70 horsepower equivalency and are capable of operating either electric implements or driving hydraulic PTO systems.
Spraying — 8
Application of crop protectants and nutrients on a smaller scale will be well within the capabilities of tractors envisioned to inhabit the marketplace over the next 5 years. Weight limitations may prevent the use of larger capacity sprayer tanks, but on smaller operations, EV tractors will serve well in this capacity.
Planting, Spraying & Sidedressing by Autonomous Tool Carriers — 7
Equipment currently under development for battery powered tool-carrier robots, which eliminate the tractor, show great promise to compete with traditional pull-behind implements, particularly if such lightweight machines are deployed in groups and served by automatic docking stations for battery swaps and recharge.
Field Crop/Forage Harvesting — 1
Like ground-engaging field work, combining and forage harvesting applications require long duty cycles at high loads which cannot be met in a cost-effective manner with current and foreseeable battery technology of the next 5 years.
Broad Acre Ground-Engaging Field Work — 1
While electrification of such applications is possible through efficient diesel-electric hybrid systems, expected improvements in battery technology over the period do not seem likely for fully battery-powered electric farm machinery adoption.
Wholegood Manufacturers of Electric Farm Machinery, Spring 2022 (click here)
Power Source Manufacturers of Electric Farm Machinery, Spring 2022 (click here)