Atena, an Antonio Carraro project for the electric in the vineyard
European funding for a specific project dedicated to the development of innovative mechanical vehicles. One of the world's leading manufacturers of specialised tractors, Antonio Carraro of Campodarsego (Padua), has won it with the Atena project, Advanced Tractors with Electric implemeNts for Agricultural green revolution. The Padua-based company, which is the project leader, has been awarded a grant of 3.2 million euro over 36 months as part of the European Life programme, which since 1992 has been promoting environmental protection through the development of sustainable economic practices and 'clean' energy sources. The project, which was presented on 9 November at EIMA International 2022, involves - in addition to Antonio Carraro - three strategic partners who will share responsibility: ERO (for equipment in the wine-growing sector) and Ecothea (a start-up of the Turin Polytechnic) as the subjects representing applied research, the Consortium for the protection of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Docg, which will instead field-test the innovations proposed by the manufacturers. As the acronym 'Atena' itself suggests, these innovations will all be based on electrification. On the other hand, as was emphasised during the presentation of the European project, the replacement of internal combustion engines with electric propulsion systems is one of the drives for the development of the agro-mechanical sector in the coming years. The fact that four companies, already committed to the environmental sustainability of their activities, have won a European call for tenders and have formed a consortium appears to be particularly interesting for the entire agricultural mechanisation sector. As was pointed out during the meeting held at EIMA 2022, the project will lead to the construction of a full-hybrid and a full-electric tractor, starting from a redesigned Antonio Carraro Srx articulated model, and will produce five types of equipment, branded ERO: a defoliator, a pruning machine, a pre-pruner, a mounted sprayer and a cultivator with blade weeder. All - as mentioned - with a direct outlet in the important Valdobbiadene wine-growing consortium. The electrified machines should arrive on the market towards the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025, with the unknown factor of costs, on which Somà, of Ecothea-Politecnico di Torino, spoke: "No one at this moment can say with certainty how much more the electrified machine will cost and the exact amount of savings. The only truly electric machine that has come onto the market, used in animal husbandry, has a price differential of less than 20%. On these values, the Atena project is viable and should be pursued". An analysis that finds the full support of Liliana Carraro, communications manager of the Padua-based group. In addition to the aforementioned Somà, the presentation of the European project was also attended by Antonio Carraro technicians Damiano De Checchi and Franco Gazzola, and Ignaz Weber of ERO.