Foxconn and Monarch Tractor announced this week the signing of a contract manufacturing agreement that will lead to Foxconn building Monarch MX-V battery electric farm tractors and battery packs at the former Lordstown Motors factory in Ohio now owned by Foxconn.
“Leveraging Foxconn’s manufacturing strengths, worldwide network of industry leaders and supply partners, and our new partnership with Monarch Tractor, Foxconn is positioned and eager to contribute to the ongoing and future success of Monarch Tractor, its products and its customers,” said Young Liu, chairman of Hon Hai Technology Group, otherwise known as Foxconn. “This partnership reflects Foxconn’s growing center of gravity for autonomous electric vehicle production and the potential that can emerge from forward-thinking collaborations.”
According to a joint press release, full production of Monarch MK-V tractors is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2023 at the Foxconn Ohio facility, which has about 6.2 million square foot of scalable manufacturing space. Monarch plans to begin production of its Founder Series tractors in the fourth quarter of 2022 at its factory in Livermore, California.
“Creating the industry’s most advanced tractor demands a manufacturing partner with the experience to quickly scale and execute with precision,” said Praveen Penmetsa, CEO of Monarch Tractor. “Foxconn is an EMS leader whose manufacturing and solutions are world-renowned. We are proud to partner with Foxconn and work together to transform the future of farming.”
Not Your Father’s Electric Tractors
The Monarch MX-V features up to 10 hours of run time and has a swappable battery pack that can be changed out in minutes to allow continuous operation 24 hours a day. Recharging a battery pack takes 4 to 5 hours using a 240 volt/80 amp charger. The electric motor is rated at 70 horsepower and has approximately double the torque of an equivalent internal combustion engine. It is equipped with a PTO and conventional 3-point hitch so it can operate all the farm equipment that gets attached to or towed behind a farm tractor during a typical day.
The MK-V can do a lot of thing other tractors can’t do, things like power lights and power tools far from the barn. The onboard smart screen gives the operator immediate access to easy to understand graphics and controls, onboard diagnostics for quick and easy repairs, an interactive live map with detailed weather information, and a 360° camera views for maximum visibility.
But that’s not all. The MK-V can operate autonomously. One person can control up to 8 tractors simultaneously, which offers farmers the opportunity to significantly increase their productivity.
Electric tractors are a small but growing part of the agriculture industry. Soletrac is also manufacturing them and ZTractor is also selling battery operated tractors that can operate autonomously. There is no specific mention of electric tractors in the new Inflation Reduction Act, but it seems like that new tax credits may be in the offing for those farmers who choose to go electric.
Every electric tractor is one less diesel-powered machine in use. That’s a good thing for farmers and everyone else in the world as well.
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