The electric tractor has been a long time coming, but it seems as if its time has finally come— and Solectrac CEO Mani Iyer is ready with new electric tractor products and, more importantly, new electric tractor dealers who are ready to get these into the hands of the farmers who need them!
We’ve spoken to Mani a few times now, of course, but he’s always a great interview and brings a wealth of industry knowledge to the table that a guy like me, with twenty-plus years in the car business, finds super interesting. The tractor business is so very much the same, yet so very different.
One thing that’s the same in both? For every Tesla or Lucid that’s out there doing the thing and selling tons of cars, there’s a Lordstown or Elio Motors that just keeps taking checks in exchange for promises. Solectrac, who recently began series production and deliveries their regional dealers, seems to be going strong.
Another similarity? There’s been a pent-up demand for a capable electric vehicle for years in the tractor space— just like we’re seeing in automotive. There, we had an established company (GM) who produced an electric product (Impact, or EV-1), and failed to capitalize. In the commercial space, Mani rightly points out that forklifts and other warehouse equipment have been electric for years, and that concept tractors have come and gone, as well. Now, with Solectrac, he believes the time is right.
Ideanomics believes the timing is right, too— which is why the company completed its purchase of the electric tractor brand early last year. “The acquisition of Solectrac is perfectly aligned with our EV and Mobility initiatives,” said Alf Poor, Ideanomics CEO. “EV tractors have proven to be superior to their diesel counterparts not only when it comes to torque and overall performance, but also when you consider operating costs, reliability, and the positive impact they have on the environment. They are also an underserved part of the market when it comes to EV initiatives. For those reasons, we are excited to bring Steve Heckeroth and the Solectrac team into the Ideanomics family.”
Toyota Electric Forklift
When we first talked last year, Solectrac was announcing plans to sell its tractors. At the time of this recording, they’ve built and sold more than 200! He also says the brand has been getting global interest, but the plan is to remain focused on North America (the company manufactures its tractors in a 40,000 sq. ft. facility in California).
That’s a question for you guys to answer, I think. In the meantime, you can check out this episode of CleanTech Talk— recorded live at the ACT Expo in Long Beach, California— and let us know what you think of Solectrac’s expansion plans in the comments.
Talking Electric Tractor Business With Solectrac and Mani Iyer
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