Mani Lyer of Solectrac had a vision. It was down on the farm where smelly, smoky tractors were poisoning the fresh food the farmers were growing. Something had to change!
What kind of farms are using your electric tractors and what are they being used for?
Our main farm demographic are hobby farms, first-time tractor owners, equine, and organic farms. The 70 HP category e70N is designed for vineyards and orchards. Our tractors can be found primarily in Sonoma and Napa vineyards. They can also be found on a mushroom farm in Pescadero. Our e25 compact electric tractor is being used by Jack Johnson’s Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation.
What utilities are using them and what are they being used for?
Utilities are out front subsidizing all use of EV platforms. Both Southern CA Edison and Georgia Power have recently started developing programs related to credits/reimbursements to customers using EVs, as well as solar. Utilities are using various EV platforms, and we expect to see more subsidies offered by them in addition to their own use.
What are the key benefits of using electric tractors over gas and diesel-powered ones?
Two key benefits of using electric tractors are zero emissions and low maintenance charges. The electric motor provides instant torque with only one moving part compared to roughly 300 parts in a diesel engine, reducing maintenance needs. The electric tractor can be charged from the utility grid or renewable sources of energy to further reduce its carbon footprint. The e70N can replace similar sized diesel tractors and eliminate the health impacts of harmful emissions and noise to operators.
Are some of your customers using their own solar power and wind power systems to charge their electric tractors?
Yes, a number of our customers use their own solar power systems — and a few are completely “off the grid.”
If so, is there an estimate of how much money they might save in fuel costs over the long term?
Previous studies have shown a savings of over $2,000/year. Considering recent increases in fuel prices, this savings is increasing dramatically this year.
So far, are all your customers in the US, or do you also have customers abroad?
We have tremendous interest abroad, but we are focused on the United States and Canada right now.
How much is the US electric tractor market projected to grow in the next ten years?
The compact tractor market continues to grow at a rate of close to 5% over 2021; which was also a record year. The electric tractor market today is only a small portion of this at less than 1%. The Global Electric Tractor Market is exhibiting a CAGR of 18.25% during the forecast period of 2021 to 2028, and we are looking to grow our market share. Credits to Mani, GreenTVEV and Ideanomic