The European trade shows are back and more powerful than ever as Antonio Carraro reveals its SRX Hybrid tractor for the first time
Antonio Carraro has armed its first electric bent compact tractor with a little thing called ACHybrid technology.
Taken a step further this relates to a hybrid electric drive system that sets this model apart.
Antonio Carraro’s SRX Hybrid diesel/electric is its pioneer model with several objectives. For a start, the choice of hybrid, or fully electrified drive systems is gaining traction.
The automotive sector realises the health benefits for operators by offering systems that reduce air pollutant emissions, in particular CO2. And that’s not all, vehicles fitted with electrical subsystems can offer improved overall performance due to their more precise power distribution control.
The industry tips this will undoubtably lead to a general increase in more electric drive models and they will represent the most built over the next decade when compared to equivalent models fitted with traditional drive systems.
For the engineers at Antonio Carraro’s Research and Development department who worked in collaboration with Ecothea, a start-up of the Polytechnic of Turin, specialised in the design and prototyping of electric vehicles for applications on agricultural machinery, the challenge was at first very ambitious.
The aim was clear, to build a compact tractor with hybrid technology, based on the most complex model of the Antonio Carraro range. An isodiametric tractor with reverse drive and articulated frame, keeping in mind the typical DNA of compact tractors designed for specialisist agriculture.
The tractor had to be compact, agile and operator responsive. The result didn’t disappoint, the SRX Hybrid is a tractor equipped with all the attributes expected from an Antonio Carraro range isodiametric tractor, but one that runs even cleaner.
However, Antonio Carraro engineers threw a further curved ball with regard to the engine. The SRX Hybrid tractor can get its power from two distinct sources.
Firstly, from a 3-cylinders 1861cc combustion engine with a common rail turbo intercooler fuel injection system, that offer power of 55kW (75hp). In addition, operators can chose to run on power from a 20kW (27hp) electric motor, or the two can be combined for a total power package of 75kW (102hp).
The architecture of the hybrid-electric system makes it possible to exploit the available power of a diesel engine combined with an electric drive system. This combination also has the benefit of guaranteeing continuous traction when working through the PTO, and especially noticeable during transport and when material handling with a forklift, loader or equipment for roadworks.
With this type of hybrid architecture, the overall peak power can in fact reach that of the most powerful configurations in the current Antonio Carraro conventional power range.
Interaction between the diesel and electric traction motor-generator drive systems is managed by an electronic power control developed specifically for this type of machine.
The unique architecture of the transmission whereby the electric motor is inserted between the diesel engine and the gearbox, has been allowed through the introduction of something Antonio Carraro engineers have developed and termed ACHybrid.
Currently under some heavy patent applications, if the ACHybrid system proves to be the missing link between diesel and electric compatibility, Antonio Carrora could be sitting on a goldmine.
Silent electric power coming
Antonio Carrora says its electric motors in subsequent adaptations will also be able to work in full electric mode, using a lithium-ion battery charge.
In this case, the diesel engine is turned off and the machine works with zero emissions, in absolute silence.
Autonomy in full electric mode will obviously depend on the capacity of the battery pack which is recharged each time the brakes are pressed when working in descent, or in plug-in mode with recharging via an electric charging station. And in addition, through the diesel engine.
Considering an average work cycle, the CO2 reduction translates into fuel savings of more than 25%. Not to mention the significant overall reduction in vibrations and noise.
Operators will notice something about the combination of the diesel/electric torque, the tractor offers a brilliant performance at the very start, and during work with specific equipment such as sprayers, cutters, and trailers the torque is always readily at hand.
As Antonio Carraro operators would expect, with the hybrid drive system the compact configuration and weight distribution is guaranteed at maximum stability, even on the roughest terrain.
The SRX Hybrid drive tractor remains steady and safe with a turning radius that highlights the typical agility of all Antonio Carraro compact tractors.
Also worth mentioning is the logic of the control panel equipped with an LCD screen on the dashboard. This allows the operator to keep an eye on all technical data, including electrical power consumption, and a dedicated screen to manage recharging.
Money back for going green
In Europe, farmers are getting rewarded by switching to alternative power sources, other than fossil fuels.
As an example, the Antonio Carraro SRX Hybrid tractor is fully equipped with an Industry 4.0 systems. This ensures eligibility in Europe for tax breaks through tax credits, currently equal to 50% given they fully satisfy the requirements of the transition 4.0 legislation.
Gaining a further foothold into the future, Antonio Carraro S.p.A. became the lead investor in March 2021 of an Italian start-up called On Group, which builds and distributes charging stations with Siemens technology for various types of electric mobility including scooters, cars, bikes, and tractors. For a company that was heavily questioned about its future take-over just 12 months ago, it’s further proof that Antonio Carraro S.p.A. is determined to lead the way in the ambitious challenges of the European Green Deal and ecological transition currently under way.