John Deere’s latest research and development work has been recognised with several awards at the upcoming SIMA 2017 show, being held in Paris from February 26 to March 2.

A ‘Special Mention’ has been given to John Deere’s SESAM electric tractor.

SESAM (Sustainable Energy Supply for Agricultural Machinery), says the company, is the industry’s first fully battery-powered tractor. This prototype machine produces 130kW (174hp) of continuous power and is based on the 6R Series tractor chassis (with an adapted 6M Series cab), using an adapted DirectDrive transmission, with a speed range from 3kph to 50kph at full power.

The tractor is emission-free and develops “high torque at low speeds” and a maximum output of around 400hp, with “no energy losses when idling”.

John Deere says that the SESAM tractor is a central component of its vision for the “energy-autonomous farm of the future”. Potential benefits, says the company, include the use of farm-produced renewable energy and new farm business models that would allow farms to provide electric power-to-grid services in rural areas.

In standard mode, one of two “maintenance-free” electric motors operates the drivetrain; the other is used for the PTO and auxiliary systems. If required, both motors can be linked together in order to supply full power, either for driving on the road or for PTO and hydraulic work.

Another advantage, says the company, is that the SESAM tractor runs at the “lowest possible noise levels”, which might prove particularly useful when operating close to residential areas or when working at night.

Battery range and charging time

Currently, one battery charge lasts for up to four operating hours in typical mixed mode operations or for around 34 miles of road transport work. Charging time is about three hours. The battery is designed to last for 3100 charging cycles.

These are the figures that will ultimately determine where this electric tractor project goes from here.