It has taken a while, but right now New Holland is producing its first T6.180 methane tractors. The German New-Tec group, part of Agravis, has ordered the first 15 units.
New Holland showed a prototype of a methane tractor back in 2013. In 2017, a more “definitive” version was presented to the public at the Farm Progress show in America. Now the first methane tractors are actually going to be delivered.
Unlike the 2017 tractor that was still somewhat futuristic in design, the production version is a more or less standard T6, but with a completely different engine. The diesel tanks under the cab have been replaced with gas tanks. A front tank is available as an option. This increases the available fuel supply, but you then miss the option of a front linkage and/or PTO. The optional front tank cannot be removed.
Methane is an alternative fuel – it therefore seems to make sense that especially companies with their own biogas production systems are potential buyers. Although, unlike a biogas plant that burns it directly in an engine to generate electricity, the gas needs additional treatment/cleaning before you can use it to fuel the engine of the New Holland tractor.
As early as 2020, the Basildon plant would build the first 20 methane tractors. That was postponed to 2021 by corona due to lack of production capacity, so it finally became a reality in early 2022.
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The engine is a 6.7 liter FPT Industrial power unit. This company has more than 20 years of experience with natural gas engines for trucks, and has produced over 50,000 natual gas engines. The gas-powered T6 will cost more or less the same as the standard diesel version.
New Holland also offers a hydrogen-powered T5.140, which costs around € 70,000 more than a standard diesel version.