Tractor manufacturer Escorts Group aims to cater for the fruit, horticulture and homestead markets with India’s first electric-power tractor.
The Farmtrac 26E concept packs a lithium-ion battery array under its small hood where a diesel engine would normally sit, and drives the regular constant mesh transmission via a 19kW (25.5hp) electric motor.
Oil-immersed brakes, power steering, position and draft control hydraulic linkage are all standard fare on the tractor, which Escorts will aim at vineyards and the horticulture market, where the compact size, zero emissions and low noise should be attractive.
At present, the battery provides about 6 hours working time, but Escorts is hopeful that by the time the tractor becomes available commercially, which is anticipated in about 18 months’ time, further advances in battery power density will extend its full-load working capability.
Charging from a regular mains power source is an attraction of the tractor’s electrical installation, along with the lower maintenance and service costs that should result from the lack of an engine.
Escorts Group says the United States will be among the first geographical markets targeted because of the huge sales of compact tractors to large homestead owners and ‘sundowner’ part-time farmers.
The Farmtrac range is not currently available in the US, but the Indian concern is understood to be in talks with potential importers.