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SESAM, the John Deere 100% electric

by Giovanni M. Losavio
January - February 2017 | Back

John Deere has unveiled the SESAM Tractor (Sustainable Energy Supply for Agricultural Machinery), the industry’s first all-electric tractor now widely expected in Paris at the Agrobusiness Show where the first fully battery-powered tractor has already been named for an Honorable Mention in the SIMA Innovation Awards competition. The SESAM prototype provides all functionalities and features of a standard tractor while offering all benefits resulting from electrification at the same time, including zero emissions and very limited noise, as compared to fossil fuel consumption. John Deere explained that the SESAM tractor is an elementary component in the manufacturer’s vision of future energy-autonomous farms in a scenario in which agricultural enterprises decidedly aim for energy self-sufficiency thanks to the integration of self-production of electricity and machines powered by these systems thanks to bi-dimensional battery charging. This U.S. multinational prototype machine fits into a project for producing 130 kW continuous power and  based on the chassis of the Mannheim’s 6R series tractors. The tractor is equipped with two maintenance-free electric motors and a modified DirectDrive transmission. Operating in the standard mode, one motor is used power the drive train and the other for the PTO and implements at work. It is also possible to link both motors to supply full power either for driving or for the PTO and hydraulic work. The speed range extends from 3 to 50 kph at full power. Moreover, the SESAM prototype’s continuously variable transmission ensures high torque for low speeds and peak power of up to 400 Hp. Yet another strong point for the John Deere all-electric is batteries which guarantee great autonomy in operation of up to four hours when running in the mixed mode or 55 hours for transport alone. Charging the batteries takes up to four hours for mixed mode operations, three hours for transport and over the average lifetime of the batteries they can be subjected to 3,100 charging cycles. Also to be underscored is that no energy is lost in periods when the tractor is not in use. 


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