Autonomous electric tractors launching ZTractor in 2021
Thanks in large part to Tesla’s leadership, presence and success, electric vehicles have gained a much more prominent position in the auto industry than they ever have. They have also been featured in many more media than just ten years ago. This year, many non-Tesla electric vehicles are also arriving at the scene.
There are also interesting possibilities for electric vehicles apart from personal transport, such as electric tractors for the agricultural industry. Electric tractors present enticing opportunities – mainly by not using fossil fuels and noisy diesel engines which generate a lot of harmful air pollution.
Electric tractors are in the first phase of commercial development: one could say the most exciting stage due to all the technological and environmental possibilities. Bakur Kvezereli, Ztractorfounder of, has agreed to answer a few questions about their new models to CleanTechnica.
Who is the target audience for an all-electric autonomous tractor?
Globally, our primary users are farmers who grow vegetables, pulses, berries and grapes. In the United States, we suspect we find our early adopters in California, Oregon, Washington and Missouri, largely due to their commitment to sustainable agriculture and the workforce crisis. agricultural. In addition, we have very loyal potential buyers in Norway, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland and Germany who have been waiting for their own Ztractor for several months.
Local and regional government organizations, especially air quality and agriculture boards, are also good targets for us, as members see the value of automating and decarbonizing the agriculture for the benefit of their communities. In addition, we see European dealers as a target for downstream sales.
Around the world, we work with third parties who invest in reducing emissions in agriculture, including Central Coast Community Energy, which grants subsidies to customers and is dedicated to the electrification of their tractors, and Mitacs, a Canadian organization dedicated to solving business problems through innovation.
Are there multiple models and what are the prices or price range?
Ztractor has three unique models in the manufacturing pipeline to service a variety of farms.
The Bearcub 24 The tractor is the smallest and most compact of Ztractor’s offerings, and the model is aimed at small organic farms. It can work with at least 130 crops, the most popular being vegetables, berries, and grapes. The Bearcub works with 75 tools such as the disc harrow, vegetable planter, mulch layer and precision sprayer, to name a few. Additionally, the tractor features an adjustable frame system and 3-point hitch, travels up to 10 mph, and has a PTO that supports all Category 1 implements. This model excels in working in vineyards and orchards, due to its ability to spray grapes unmanned, thus limiting unnecessary chemical exposures.
March 45 The tractor is ideal for farms of all sizes and can be used nationwide on at least 250 crops, such as beans, root vegetables and potatoes. It is stronger than the Bearcub model and can work with 150 different tractor implements like a rotary drawbar, mouldboard plow and chisel.
The SuperPilot 125 is our largest and strongest tractor and is specially designed for large acre farms. The tractor works with 50 implements, including a cultivator, a disc massager and a 12-row planter, to name a few. The tractor has the capacity to work 80 crops, including wheat, corn, soybeans and rice.
The BearCub model will sell for an average of $ 42,000 (price subject to change), including data processing, computer vision features, any other software product or narrow niches for different tasks. However, Ztractor is currently conducting ongoing research to determine the most competitive market price for farming communities and there is not yet a fixed cost in place for any of the models.
Would an owner / operator operate an autonomous electric tractor remotely on a laptop, desktop, tablet or phone?
Farmers can use a tablet or computer to define the boundaries of the field and operate the all-electric tractor without physically driving, but operators must stay within five miles or less of the site. Farmers can set field boundaries, directions, and implement instructions using Ztractor’s map array, and all tractors have Level 2 range capabilities. Equipped with advanced safety features with 67 sensors, six cameras and a GPS, the all-electric Bearcub-24 collects real-time agricultural data while working in the field. Its IoT framework and machine learning algorithm interprets the data, which leads to increased efficiency and efficiency.
How long can one of the company’s electric tractors run at full load and how long does it take to recharge?
Early models of Ztractors charged in about four hours. However, we are in the process of upgrading our battery to cut the charging time in half. Since the batteries differ in size in each tractor model, the operating period also differs. Our smallest tractor, the Bearcub, typically uses a 24kWh battery and can typically deliver around 8 hours of use on a single charge. Our midsize model, the Mars, can typically grow for 10 hours, depending on soil type and implementation. Finally, the SuperPilot delivers 12 hours on a single charge. We plan to adjust the size of the batteries as technology improves and prices drop.
Does every tractor have on-board sensors and software to make sure it doesn’t hit or hang over anything?
Yes, every tractor has optics and sensors to avoid collisions. With 67 sensors, six cameras and a GPS, at an average operating speed of 3 mph, it is extremely safe to operate Ztractors in off-road farming areas.
Do any of the electric tractors have AI for them to learn while they work in the fields?
Tractors are equipped with seven basic features which make up a machine learning feature that allows the tractor to learn from the data it collects. Unlike other autonomous technologies, the tractor learns from normal operations instead of specifically driving tractors for data collection before or after classified operations. We program it to learn space and avoid bumping into anything, which makes it smarter. There is also a human filter to this learning. Farmers set up zones and choose the paths in which they want their tractor to operate using satellites and aerial photos of the fields.
All models collect real-time agricultural data in our application software. This app uses an IoT framework and machine learning algorithm to help farmers better understand their crops and save time and money.
Eventually, could they be fully automated so that they can operate without constant human guidance and guidance?
Ztractors operate with level 2 range or partial driving automation. For this reason, the operator must be present within five miles of the tractor. While we cannot make any promises on this aspect of the technology today, we are optimistic as we deploy more tractors and rely on machine learning and data collection components, the level of d autonomy will increase.
What is the lifespan of an electric tractor and its batteries?
We can say for sure that Ztractors could last over 15 years with the right care and maintenance, especially if owners replace batteries after their 8 year lifespan.
Are repair costs lower for an electric tractor because their technology is simpler than a gasoline or diesel tractor?
Not only are maintenance and repair costs lower, but farmers also save significantly on insurance, fuel and labor costs.
Are any of the company’s tractors available for purchase or are they currently used in agriculture?
Ztractors will be distributed worldwide this year and will be available in the United States and Europe. The company is also working to generate buzz in farming communities in the United States. The recent poster campaign near the University of Missouri has aroused great interest from the consumer and farming community.
Ztractor also performs extensive research and field testing at local farms in California, where the company is headquartered. Some test sites include orchard nurseries and vegetable farms. The Ztractors have performed well in these pilots.