Comment – Electric?

This week has seen some interesting news from France that a startup (don’t you just roll your eyes at that term?) is developing a medium sized electric tractor. Given that the mainstream manufacturers reckon energy density and duty cycles are the key challenges for fieldwork with electric tractors, I’m keen to see how this stated 160hp sized tractor delivers on its promised full days work with autonomous functions. It sounds like the holy grail for tractor manufacturers, and if you look at the pictures in the press (and above) it looks like a green Fastrac (other tractors are available). Oh, and they reckon to have done away with the gearbox.

It wasn’t that long ago that some of the machinery press and myself were sat with Lord Bamford and the JCB hydrogen engine team discussing the challenges of electrification and their road to hydrogen,  let’s see how this one develops. Have a look at and see what you reckon?

Closer to home at least one tractor dealership has gone into liquidation with stock being rapidly moved elsewhere, and new distribution arrangements are proliferating almost by the day for established brands. Let’s not forget one UK manufacturers field team, who were told to return the pickup trucks on Friday night and take the bus home. Answers on a postcard.

Recently Nissan announced that they were removing support (ie the app will not work) for their earlier 2G and 3G connected Leaf electric cars. . Whilst this kind of ‘turning off’ of technology won’t necessarily affect those of us with a 2wd Marshall 702 on the farm frontline, it did get me to thinking. I’m sure when Nissan launched the Leaf (albeit a while after the Toyota Prius), the last thing on the design team’s mind was the switch off of the latest snazzy 3G data network. Fast forward 15 -20 years and a perfectly functional car is now dead because the App won’t update or run on 4 or 5G. Talk about unforeseen circumstances.

As manufacturers strive to maximise machine utilisation (or ‘uptime’ as certain quarters would have us say), and governments seek to extend design life and legislate to ensure manufacturers support the whole of the product lifecycle not just the first and second users, I just wonder what is that ‘reasonable’ lifespan.

I’m a big fan of tractor electrification, by the way, especially at this time of year with the battery for the Marshall 702!

Have a good week,