Sep 27, 2023

The Future of Electric Farm Equipment

Battery-powered hand tools now own the fix-it market. Yard equipment has its cell sights set on suburbia. Farm country, however, requires a much higher threshold of reliability. That isn't slowing down the flood of new lithium-ion powered equipment now making its way to dealer lots. Just in the last year ag companies such as CNH, Caterpillar, Doosan Bobcat, John Deere, Komatsu, Yanmar and Volvo have released prototypes or plans for industrial-sized electric equipment.

Some companies such as Monarch Tractor are already trying to establish a toehold. Its MK-V tractors have been used in California wineries since 2020. The fully electric, autonomous tractors feature 10 hours of runtime, 70 peak hp, 40 hp continuous, and twice the torque of a comparable conventional tractor.

"Electric tractors offer farmers significant reductions in fuel costs over the life of the machine when compared with a diesel-powered tractor of the same capacity," says CEO and co-founder Praveen Penmetsa.

Production is set to begin this year. Monarch also offers a battery swap cart to keep the tractor running and uses 90% fewer moving parts than a comparable diesel unit.

CNH Industrial has been collaborating with Monarch. In December 2022 it announced an electric tractor prototype, which will ultimately be a Case IH branded model also with autonomous capabilities.

"There's a power density as it relates to technology where it doesn't work on a 555-hp tractor with today's technology, but it certainly has a use case with the duty cycle needed up to 50, 70, or 80 hp," says Kurt Coffey, vice president of Case IH North America.

Coffey recognizes electric isn't the only option for manufacturers as numerous alternative propulsion platforms roll out across the industry.

"The jury's still out at this point," he says. "We have tractors that go out for four weeks and never come home and so what about charging infrastructure, battery technology and power density? If you’re talking about a 70 hp Farmall that runs four hours a day, the technology fits and that's where you’ll see us go in the near term."

"I'm not going to say that electrification doesn't have a place in agriculture, but right now, just from a pure physics perspective, not at the high-power levels," echoes John Deere's chief technology officer Jahmy Hindman.

He says Deere's findings also show electrification could be a solution for lower horsepower units of 100 hp and under.

"In relatively light-duty cycles, lithium-ion chemistry batteries can work," he says. "You can package enough energy into the tractor to make that work. As you get into higher power levels? The answer is no."

Electric Equipment Rolls Out

Hon Hai Technology Group ("Foxconn") today announced the start of production in Ohio of the Monarch MK-V, the first fully electric, driver-optional, smart tractors, with the initial five tractors rolling off the production line for delivery to customers. In June 2022, Foxconn signed a contract manufacturing agreement (CMA) with Zimeno Inc. D/B/A Monarch Tractor ("Monarch Tractor") to build Monarch Tractor's next-generation agricultural equipment and battery packs at the Foxconn Ohio facility.

580 EV Electric Backhoe Loader

CASE Construction Equipment introduces "Project Zeus" — the 580 EV (Electric Vehicle), the construction industry's first fully electric backhoe loader. The power and performance of the 580 EV is equivalent to other diesel-powered backhoes in the CASE product line and provides considerably lower daily operating costs while also producing zero emissions — a motivating factor for utility and government contractors incentivized to work with equipment that leverages alternative fuels and lowers emissions.

The 580 EV is powered by a 480-volt, 90-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack that can be charged by any 220-volt/three-phase connection. While applications will vary, each charge will support most common eight-hour workdays. The battery separately powers the drivetrain and hydraulic motors, resulting in hydraulic breakout forces equal to diesel-powered machines and improved performance during simultaneous loader and drivetrain operation.

CL36EV Electrified Compact Wheel Loader

The CL36EV compact wheel loader is designed to deliver all the benefits of electrification in a machine with a small footprint that will excel in applications such as supply yards, large-scale building renovations and construction where indoor operation may be required, and any other operation that may require less noise and no emissions. The dynamic compact loader will help simplify maintenance and lower lifetime total cost of ownership through the elimination of the diesel engine.

"A loader of this footprint, especially one used in yard applications where it stays there and has regular access to primary power, is the perfect application for electrification," says Andrew Dargatz, product manager, CASE Construction Equipment. "The CL36EV delivers the same power and performance as comparably sized diesel-powered loaders and can be matched with a full range of attachments for additional versatility."

The CL36EV is a 3.6 metric ton machine with a hinge pin height of over 10 feet. Additional product information and commercial availability at CASE dealers in North America for the CL36EV will be announced at a later date.

Bobcat T7X and S7X

The T7X and S7X are part of Doosan Bobcat's push to lead the compact equipment industry's charge to an all-electric, emissions-free future.

With the T7X and S7X all-electric loaders, operators can simultaneously power the drive, lift and tilt functions without the noticeable power lag that is common among diesel/hydraulic machines. Doosan Bobcat says operators can feel a distinct power increase over traditional loaders, with no performance tradeoffs when operating multiple functions at once.

With 50% fewer components, simple componentry, and 96% less fluid, the company expects to drastically reduce maintenance and simplify troubleshooting with all-electric loaders. Many non-hydraulic Bobcat attachments will work with the Bob-Tach™ system on the T7X and S7X. Bobcat is working on a new line of electric attachments.

Currently, the company is delivering its first units of the Bobcat T7X compact track loader to Sunbelt Rentals, Inc. and it has plans to expand its electric equipment offerings in the coming years.

950 GC Medium Electric Wheel Loader906 Electric Compact Wheel Loader301.9 Mini Excavator320 Medium Excavator

Announced in 2022, Caterpillar rolled out several battery electric machine prototypes including the 301.9 mini excavator, 320 medium excavator, 950 GC medium wheel loader and 906 compact wheel loader. The machines are powered by Caterpillar battery prototypes and include an onboard AC charger. The company also plans to offer an offboard DC fast charging option.

"Caterpillar is well positioned to help customers reach their sustainability goals, including lowering emissions on the job site," said Construction Industries Group President Tony Fassino. "It's important we meet customers on their sustainability journey today with a variety of solutions including machines that run on renewable fuels or technology that increases fuel efficiency, as well as supporting them into the future as we power our next generation of machines."

The Caterpillar-designed batteries in these machines will also be available to power other industrial applications. Built on proven Caterpillar technology, the lithium-ion battery range features a modular design that offers flexible configurations across multiple applications. The batteries are engineered to be scalable to industry and customer performance needs and maximize sustainability throughout their lifecycle, including recycling and reuse at the end of life.

The 301.9 and 906 are expected to be the first commercially available models.

310 X-Tier Electric Backhoe

In January of 2021, John Deere, and National Grid, an electricity, natural gas, and clean energy delivery company serving more than 20 million people throughout the Northeast, announced they will joint test an electric backhoe concept. The John Deere developed, battery-powered, electric vehicle design – referred to as E-Power – will target the ease of operation and performance level of the diesel-powered, 100 HP 310L Backhoe. The design is intended to provide substantially lower daily operating costs, lower jobsite noise, enhanced machine reliability, and zero tailpipe emissions.

The testing period will enable National Grid to expand its use of electric equipment on jobsites, reaffirming its commitment to leading the industry in the use of clean and resilient energy solutions.

"National Grid is one of only two energy companies in the US to add electric backhoes to their fleets," said Badar Khan, President, National Grid, US. "We are excited to work with John Deere to take an important step in electrifying our company vehicles, which could be revolutionary for our industry. Decarbonizing transportation remains a challenge in the journey to net zero and we’re hopeful that bringing on more electrified heavy-duty vehicles and equipment will help us make significant progress."

John Deere is in early Phase I development of its electric backhoe. To learn more about the John Deere backhoe lineup, visit

L20 Electric Wheel LoaderL25 Electric Wheel Loader

Volvo Construction Equipment has upgraded its zero-emissions, low-noise L20 and L25 Electric compact wheel loader just as deliveries are starting in North America, meaning customers will get the new versions of the machines with enhanced uptime, versatility and operator comfort.

The updates include increasing the maximum speed to 12.4 mph, the option to fit a parallel linkage that delivers high breakout torque in various applications, additional operator-friendly features, and improved charging.

"As the first commercially available fully electric wheel loaders on the market, the L25 Electric and L20 Electric were already unique. These upgrades take them to another level with improved comfort, productivity and uptime," said Lars Arnold, electromobility product manager, Volvo CE.

The L25 Electric compact wheel loader was unveiled in 2019 and customer shipments began in Europe in the spring of 2020 and in North America this past summer. Both models offer zero exhaust emissions, lower noise, and comparable performance to diesel equivalents.

Recent upgrades include lower noise levels inside and outside the cab, thanks to a new hydraulic pump and the relocation of the main control valve from the cab to the front frame.

Additionally, operators in colder climates will appreciate the new programmable cab heater option, which allows them to easily choose the times and days of the week when they would like to arrive in a prewarmed and defrosted cab.

A new electric parking brake improves uptime with hill-hold functionality: a convenient automatic feature for operators working on inclines or rough terrain. And because the disc brake in the former model is now replaced by a spring-applied and hydraulic-released wet-disc brake, related maintenance requirements are removed, helping to cut costs and machine downtime.

The time it takes to achieve a full charge from zero is six hours with the 6 kW on-board charger if used with a 240V socket or level 2 public charging station. Speedier charging is available with optional off-board DC fast chargers at 11.5 kW or 17.3 kW. When this is combined with the newly launched electric machine management application, customers can further boost uptime by keeping track of charging status, battery level, and location to help manage the charging process more efficiently.

PC210LCE Electric ExcavatorKomatsu/Moog Compact Wheel Loader

To help customers reduce their carbon footprint and plan for implementing sustainable solutions through electrification, Komatsu unveils a 20-ton PC210LCE electric excavator.

The PC210LCE was created for construction businesses that need a high-performance machine while cutting fuel costs. Featuring lithium-ion battery technology developed by Proterra, the excavator has 451 kWh of battery capacity, designed for up to 8 hours of operating time.

Designed to reduce operator fatigue with less noise, exhaust emissions and zero engine vibration, the PC210LCE is ideal for use in urban areas and indoor environments. The low operating noise levels of the PC210LCE can allow for nighttime construction work both indoors and out.

Also just announced Komatsu and Moog have collaborated to build a fully electric compact wheel loader machine.

Moog's intelligent machine electrification system includes an electric traction motor, lift, tilt and steering electric cylinders, power electronics, system control computer, battery, and battery management system. The integrated software acts as the system's brain to connect and intelligently coordinate actions across the machine while the all-electric actuators and motors provide the muscle.

Komatsu provided the vehicle-level design and assembly, including structural configurations that take advantage of Moog's intelligent machine electrification system.

Monarch MK-V Electric Equipment Rolls Out First Five Monarch MK-V Tractors Roll Off Production Line CASE Construction: 580 EV Electric Backhoe Loader 580 EV Electric Backhoe Loader CL36EV Electrified Compact Wheel Loader CL36EV Electrified Compact Wheel Loader Doosan Bobcat: Bobcat T7X and S7X Bobcat T7X and S7X Caterpillar 950 GC Medium Electric Wheel Loader906 Electric Compact Wheel Loader301.9 Mini Excavator320 Medium Excavator 950 GC Medium Electric Wheel Loader John Deere 310 X-Tier Electric Backhoe 310 X-Tier Electric Backhoe Volvo L20 Electric Wheel LoaderL25 Electric Wheel Loader Volvo L25 Electric Wheel Loader Komatsu PC210LCE Electric ExcavatorKomatsu/Moog Compact Wheel Loader PC210LCE Electric Excavator Komatsu/Moog Compact Wheel Loader