Video: Is this electric ‘systems tractor’ a glimpse of the future?

The Multi Tool Trac is a novel developmental tractor that employs an electric powertrain.

It is also notable for its ‘on-the-move’ track adjustment system, whereby the width between the wheels can be changed to suit different crop types.

It is a true ‘systems tractor’ in so far as it has multiple mounting points for attachments and implements – beyond the conventional front and rear 3-point linkages.

Built by the Dutch company Boessenkool, one of a number of partners in the overall project, the vehicle is designed to work as a 3m machine in Controlled Traffic Farming systems.

Controlled Traffic Farming (CTF), in the words of the designers, is “driving your machines on the same tracks – always. This results in less trafficed area, better soils, lower costs and better yields.”

One of the key features of the nearly 10t vehicle is that, in addition to fitting PTO-powered kit to the front and rear, the 5.5m wheelbase provides plenty of space to mid-mount an implement. For current field tests, the implements are supplied by the Dutch company Evers.

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Although the vehicle is an electrically-powered tractor, it is fitted with a 6-cylinder 210hp diesel engine – which serves as a range extender. This, in effect, means that the unit is not solely reliant on its on-board 30kWh battery power.

Because it was designed with CTF in mind, the unit features a wide range of track adjustment; the wheels can be set up to 3.2m apart or as little as 2.25m apart – the latter for use on the road.

Why is it so long? The 5.5m wheelbase is intended to enable all manner of equipment to be fitted between the front and rear wheels. This, says the firm behind the project, results in unique visibility for the driver over the crop which is being worked. According to the company, it all results in a very stable machine.

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The cab, which is sourced from Claas, can slide back and forth along the frame, depending on what implements are being used or what sort of visibility is needed.

Commenting on the electric powertrain, the creator said that the electric motors “provide high torque and are perfect for traction and high-precision driving”.

An electric generator supplies anywhere from 22kW to 44kW of electricity to each wheel motor. As standard, the machine comes with 4-wheel-drive and 4-wheel-steering. Top speed is 40kph.

Fitted with Mitas 380/90 R50 tyres both front and rear, the vehicle has a rated (net) payload of 5t.

The first prototype 10t Multi Tool Trac was built in 2015; it has been undergoing testing since then. A redesign is currently ongoing, taking into account the results of the various tests and trials.

Again, this version will be “tested thoroughly” in practical situations before a final commercial model is unveiled. The firm plans to have the first Multi Tool Tracs available to buy in 2019 or 2020.

Exact prices have yet to be established but, as a rough guideline, are expected to be in the region of €250,000-€300,000. For those interested, people can keep up-to-date on the project by visiting the firm’s website.

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