Machinery Review: The Electric John Deere is here


It looks like John Deere have stepped up their game when it comes to environmentally-friendly tractors. Although not many availability details have been released, we now know a bit more about the SESAM, the first ‘all-electric’ tractor.

The prototype for SESAM (which stands for Sustainable Energy Supply for Agricultural Machinery) won a SIMA award this month. SIMA, which is the Paris Agribusiness Awards event, attracts the attention of 1,770 companies from 42 countries, with 13 exhibition sectors and 238,848 entries from 142 countries.

The SESAM, according to John Deere, is the industry’s first fully battery-powered tractor providing all functionalities and features of a standard tractor while offering all benefits resulting from electrification at the same time. The SESAM tractor is an elementary component John Deere’s vision of future energy autonomous farms.

Besides an overall outstanding efficiency, benefits from the SESAM tractor are potential use of on farm produced renewable energy and enabling new business models for farms through grid-plug-in and bi-directional charging technology. This enables farms for future services for electric power grids in rural areas.

This prototype machine produces 130kW continuous power and is based on chassis from Mannheim’s 6R series tractors. Two maintenance free electric motors operate the slightly adapted DirectDrive transmission. In standard mode one motor is used fort the drive train and the other for PTO and auxiliaries. If necessary, both motors can be linked together in order to supply full power either for driving or for PTO and hydraulic work. The speed range reaches from 3 to 50kph at full power. Addtionally, unique driver experience is provide through stepless transmission control, high torque at low speeds and highest peak power at about 400 hp.

During stand still times there are no energy losses at all. The SESAM tractor system is emission free and runs at lowest noise level what is a particular advantage when operating close to residential areas or when working at night.

Currently, one battery charge lasts for up to four operating hours in typical mixed mode operations or about 55 km of transport, while charging time is about three hours. The life time of the battery is designed for 3100 charging cycles.

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