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John deere grideon autonom traktor

JOHN DEERE GRIDCON

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It seems that with current technology, electric tractors will not be able to produce much more than 100 hp, or last more than a few hours on a single charge. John Deere has attempted to remedy these problems with a cable-powered prototype called GridCON. Unlike earlier battery-powered prototypes, the all-electric, autonomous tractor delivers up to 400 hp (300 kW) of power and is powered from the field boundary to the tractor via an electric cable linkage through a drum carrying a cable more than 910 m long.

The biggest challenge for battery-powered electric tractors is the power capacity of batteries available today compared to the power needed for typical agricultural operations, says Dennis Muszalski, director of module and power system development at John Deere. Equipment availability is paramount during critical windows of planting and harvesting. Our customers can’t afford any delays due to battery capacity limits, which result in frequent and lengthy recharging.

While pricing for prototype models is not yet available, the base price for the Monarch is $50,000. Solectrac tractors are currently about 20% more expensive than a comparable diesel model. However, lower maintenance costs will offset much of this.