Monarch’s tractor drives battery-electric farming evolution

The battery-electric tractor from Monarch is a statement in electrification and marks the future of electric vehicle (EV) applications in agriculture

Credit for innovation must always be given where it is due, and one industry that we don’t recognise enough is agriculture. 

As not only the demand for food rises, but also emissions reduction, agriculture must also undergo a significant shift to evolve from its heavily fossil-fuel-powered state. As farming is also a significant contributor to emissions, and a supply chain that requires minimal tampering, electric vehicle (EV) solutions are paramount in the industry. 

The tractor company Monarch Tractor recognises both the need for change and to do so in the least disruptive way possible, which is why it brings to the fore an all-electric tractor with autonomous capabilities.

The company’s President and Co-Founder, Mark Schwager says that the Monarch Tractor is “the world’s best tractor. It’s the best tractor because it’s electric, because it has automation capabilities, because of the incredible amount of data it can pull, and because it fundamentally changes farmers’ economics, allowing them to be more profitable.”

A revolutionary electrified compact tractor

Earlier in December, the company made history as it released the first ever MK-V model tractor from its production line, which makes a statement of electrification, sustainability, and efficiency. 

The Chief Farming Officer and Co-Founder of Monarch Tractor, Carlo Mondavi addressed the press at a pivotal moment for the organisation. 

“Today we are launching a revolutionary technology that is going to change the way we farm, making farms more profitable, making us as farmers more independent, all while protecting our planet’s biodiversity.

Although it may seem like a small tractor, the MK-V packs a punch, particularly in the areas where it will be used most, which is likely to be on small farms and used in orchards as well as vineyards. 

The peak motor power of the tractor sits at around 52 kilowatts, which is the equivalent to 70 horsepower, while its rated motor power is 30kW (40hp). The run time of the tractor in the standard farm setting is measured to be approximately 14 hours depending on the usage of the vehicle—and it fulfils many of the usual requirements of a tractor with power take-off (PTO) power of 30kW (40hp) located at the rear of the machine. 

The tractor itself is given a life of 4,000hrs, or the equivalent to four years, while the battery will last more than two times that. But, what really makes the tractor shine is its futuristic capabilities as it enters the world of autonomous capabilities, leveraging Wi-Fi, 4G (LTE) ready cellular connectivity, and allowing the user to benefit from reduced operational and labour costs—as well as safety benefits—through its driver optional technology.

The inspiration behind the project taps into the knowledge and experience of Mondavi in the wine industry, which is significantly impacted by the variable conditions that we see as a result of climate change. Mondavi explains how the changing climate causes havoc with crop yields due to wildfires, droughts, and unpredictable rainfall over the years—and how all these variables affect communities. 

As a result, we understand that Monarch Tractor is about creating change that will allow farmers to react sustainably to the rising global temperature and, through the Monarch Challenge, which was founded in 2016 to build awareness in the farming community around the use of dangerous chemicals. The initiative also educates farmers how to minimise their use of such chemicals by other means of farming or approaching the end goal. 

Mondavi says: “I know one thing that unites the most conventional farmer and the most organic farmer—it’s that we care deeply about our planet, we care deeply about our soil, and we care deeply about our families.”

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