Electric tractors have a number of advantages over their diesel counterparts. Most importantly, they don’t produce CO2 emissions or other air pollution directly. It’s true that the electricity they use is sometimes generated by natural gas or other fossil fuels — or a blend of energy sources — but eventually, some will run on electricity from only clean, renewable sources.
One source for an electric tractor is California-based Solectrac, which expects to manufacture 10 electric tractors in 2018. Founder and CEO Stephen Heckeroth answered some questions for CleanTechnica.
1. Are your electric tractors more comfortable to operate because they are so much quieter?
Yes, and not breathing exhaust helps too.
2. Why are their operating costs so much lower than a diesel tractor of the same size?
The motor has one moving part and will last 100 years. A diesel engine has over 300 moving parts that require constant maintenance. Electric charging costs are 1/2 – 1/8 the cost of diesel fuel.
3. Who are some of your customers?
Farmers, vineyards, research labs, and horse arenas.
4. Could one of your electric tractor operators use solar power to generate electricity to charge?
5. Do you sell your tractors with a home charger?
6. How long does it take to fully recharge a battery?
7. What is the cost of one of your tractors?
8. What kind of batteries do they use?
9. Do you expect that eventually, electric tractors will completely replace diesels?
10. Are your customers and prospective customers people who want to decrease their exposure to toxic diesel fumes and vapors?
Yes, but they also care about the quality of life in the future.
11. Electric tractors have far fewer moving parts, so are they easier to repair and maintain?
Image Credit: Solectrac