TUMTrac - Electric research tractor at AgriTechnica fair

A team from the Technical University of Munich (TU Munich) unveiled a development platform for electric tractors in Garching last week. This platform includes a swappable battery system that enables extended ranges and longer operating times. It also provides the opportunity to test electric propulsion systems in agriculture with various attachments. In November, the tractor will be showcased to the public at this year's AgriTechnica in Hanover.

Eine Mögliche Konfiguration des TUMtrac Rendering: Wotan Wilden
Eine Mögliche Konfiguration des TUMtrac Rendering: Wotan Wilden

Electric tractors play a significant role in harnessing the economic and ecological potential of modern agricultural operations. A team at the Chair of Vehicle Technology at TUM is, therefore, posing the question of what farming activities can be conducted with electric tractors and whether there is an economic benefit. Currently, only a handful of battery-electric tractors are in use, which the team has thoroughly analyzed.

The goal is to develop a simulation platform for the concept development of electric tractors. Based on empirical data, researchers first create innovative tractor concepts tailored to specific use cases, essentially aiming to design the perfect electric tractor for each farmer. Subsequently, a comprehensive cost analysis is conducted to quantify the economic potential compared to a conventional diesel tractor.

According to the team's preliminary analyses, the electrification of agricultural machinery faces stagnation due to three main challenges:

  1. High Investment Costs: Current electric tractor solutions are expensive and require additional infrastructure investments.

  2. High Operating Hours: Farmers require substantial battery capacity and constant availability for their agricultural operations.

  3. Integration into Farm Infrastructure: Agricultural operations often lack the necessary infrastructure and holistic energy solutions to fully leverage electrification.

To address these challenges, the team led by Korbinian Götz and Clemens Pizzinini seeks to solve them through a techno-economic evaluation of potential tractor concepts. The modular TUMtrac platform is designed as a testing and validation vehicle, accessible to both the research and industrial sectors.

At AGRITECHNICA in November 2023, the world's leading agricultural machinery trade fair, the team will showcase the software and the associated research tractor. Currently, the researchers are seeking partners interested in participating in the next stage of TUMtrac as part of a research project.

For more information about the project, please visit the TUMtrac website.