John Deere’s electric dreams


John Deere has pulled the wraps off of its first fully electric tractor in a new video. Source: The Verge

The tractor project is called Sustainable Energy Supply for Agricultural Machinery, or SESAM, and John Deere plans to officially unveil it at the Paris International Agribusiness Show in early 2017.

Until then, we only know a few things about the SESAM tractor.

It has an absolutely massive 150kWh battery pack – bigger than what you can find on any Tesla.

It will supposedly have a range of about 55 kilometers (34 miles), and it takes about three hours to charge. But it’s also loud. I mean all tractors are loud as hell. But this one is loud in a totally different way.

We only get a few seconds of natural audio in this video, but those clips are enough to make SESAM sound like it’s got a giant turbine strapped to it. deere-electric-2

The sound is (maybe unsurprisingly) reminiscent of the noises created by the all-electric race cars of Formula E.

And you know what’s funny about that? Mahindra, a massive manufacturing conglomerate from India, fields one of the more competitive teams in Formula E. Mahindra also happens to be the top tractor manufacturer in the world, and has been eating up John Deere’s market share in the US over the last decade.

Will we have an electric tractor war on our hands in the next few years? Probably, though Mahindra hasn’t publicly announced any plans regarding an electric tractor. But it’s a natural next step.

The company flirted with the idea in a 2012 design contest, and currently makes electric bikes and scooters.