Electric tractor manufacturer Solectrac announced it has delivered its first Compact Electric Tractor (CET) in Oahu, Hawaii. The fully-electric tractor was donated to the Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by musician Jack Johnson and his wife, Kim, that supports environmental education in the schools and communities of Hawaii.
Solectrac was founded in Northern California with the goal of offering farmers independence from the pollution, infrastructure, and price volatility associated with fossil fuels. The company is a portfolio client of Ideanomics, which remains a minority owner and investor in other electric companies we’ve covered, like Energica.
According to today’s press release, Solectrac delivered its first electric tractor to the foundation’s new Kōkua Learning Farm, a seven-acre plot on the North Shore of Oahu in The Aloha State. The Kōkua foundation was nominated and received the most votes for the e-tractor donation as part of a successful fundraising campaign from Solectrac.
The foundation unveiled the tractor with a hands-on demonstration last week to a small group of local farmers and educators. Of course musician, environmentalist, and Oahu native, Jack Johnson was there as well. He commented:
We are so excited about our new compact electric tractor and our ability to run it with zero emissions off of solar power. We can’t thank Solectrac enough for their generosity. The Kōkua Learning Farm is a place for people of all ages to see the possibilities of a bright future, and this new electric tractor will have lasting impact for generations to come.
The CET will be used on the farm to help students and the community participate in creating a local farming ecosystem that is efficient and sustainable.
The Kōkua Hawaii Foundation and its new Solectrac CET (Credit: Kōkua Hawaii Foundation)
Solectrac’s Compact Electric Tractor (CET)
The CET is the smallest of three current offerings from Solectrac in an agricultural industry that can surely benefit from zero-emissions and renewable energy. Battery weight in electric tractors like this can increase traction, while instant torque can aid in more efficient farming at low speeds.
With no idling, e-tractors like the CET only use energy while they’re actually performing work and do not give off nasty exhaust like traditional diesel tractors. Not to mention, they’re quiet as hell in comparison, too.
The CET itself offers a diesel-equivalent performance of 30 HP and was designed for areas like vineyards, small farms, and golf courses. With the ability to swap out the tires for industrial or turf options, the CET is built to function efficiently and quietly in various environments.
It features a 22 kWh battery pack offering up to six hours of runtime. The battery can be charged in under four hours from a 220VAC, 30-amp outlet, or overnight from a 110VAC, 15-amp outlet. This product currently sells at a starting price of $25,800.
If that’s not heavy duty enough, Solectrac also offers other 30 and 40 HP equivalent electric tractors that offer more hitches and other farming options. This includes an extended battery that sits on the hitch.
The Compact Electric Tractor (CET)
Growing up in the midwest, you learn to appreciate farmers, especially as many have had a rough go of it in recent decades. To see electric tractors emerge as a sustainable and affordable option is encouraging, not only for the environment but also for everyone’s health.
From an emissions side of things, electric tractors like those offered from Solectrac offer virtually no pollution, whether it’s from combustion or noise. Having solar or wind infrastructure on farms also offers the possibility of completely renewable energy to charge the vessel each day.
Talk to any farmer, and they’ll tell you about the noise of a tractor… and they may even do so loudly, because they’ve lost hearing from years out in the field. Taking the decibels down may seem like a small perk from going electric, but it must be a huge selling point to farming consumers.
Lastly, the money saved on fuel, maintenance, and overall efficiency seems like it has the potential to be tremendous, especially as you consider the decades these machines should be able to consistently operate. With no oil or combustion, farmers can ideally get even more life out of their tractor and save more money. They can simply exchange their battery every 10 years, something Solectrac already assists with.
Hopefully, this market can follow suit with other vehicle electrification for the benefit of farmers and our agriculture everywhere.
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