as a toaster. Photographer: Cayce Clifford for Bloomberg Green Electricvehicle technology has finally arrived in heavy machinery, thanks to
Next season, however, Wente hopes to be more simpatico with its neighbors thanks to two new electric machines from Monarch Tractor. The 12-foot long vehicles would start crawling the property at four a.m., with their battery-driven motors making about as much noise as a toaster. What's more, the rigs would drive themselves, so Wente's field hands can chaperone far from the cloud of fungicide, which tends to irritate skin and eyes…Electric vehicle technology has finally arrived in heavy machinery, thanks to battery breakthroughs, a small crop of startups like Monarch and investors hungry for the next new thing on wheels. The future of transportation is about to hit the Heartland…The business model at a contemporary tractor company is essentially elephant-hunting. These 25-ton machines are to an outfit like Deere & Co. what jumbo jets are to Boeing or pickups are to Detroit; they largely carry the company…But while honking combines is where the big money is, the market is quickly moving downscale. Of the 305,000 tractors bought in North America last year, some 68% were models with less than 40 horsepower, according to Deere…Tractors and other vehicles in the $292 billion global market for machinery equipment are playing an outsized part in climate change. In the U.S. alone, tractors burn 5.3 billion gallons of fuel a year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, and agriculture accounts for 10% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions - about one-third as much as the country's planes, trains and automobiles…Mark Schwager is best known for designing and building Tesla's Gigafactory in Nevada. Today, as Monarch's co-founder and president, he oversees a more modest 30,000-square foot building not far from the Wente grapes that serves as the company's headquarters, R&D lab and beta factory…Behind him a massive American flag hangs from the rafters and a crowd of workers carrying laptops swarm one of the company's first complete machines. It looks, well, like a tractor. The controls are similar to those found on any similar-sized rig and it's tooled to hook up to most farm implements, from trailers to plows…'That's very intentional,' Schwager says. 'Farmers are familiar with tractors. We have to fit in the existing farm ecosystem.' The seat, however, is designed to be less than cushy, a subtle nudge to encourage the human to hop off and let the robots do the work…The rig's battery - packed into a block rather than a flat, Tesla-style skateboard - is carried up front, counter-balancing the weight of anything hitched to the rear. Monarch declined to disclose the size of its battery, but said it can power about 10 hours of average work, like spraying, or 5 hours of heavier tasks, such as plowing…Monarch has a simple solution to the range-anxiety rife on roads; its machine is engineered to easily swap batteries. With two batteries and a relatively fast charger, Monarch says its rig can run 24/7. The vehicle also doubles as a giant rolling generator, a feature that Ford Motor Co. also is using as a major selling point for its all-new electric pickup.
Fortune Minerals Limited published this content on 20 August 2021 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 20 August 2021 20:03:05 UTC.