Tractors

Electric Tractors – The Future of Indian Agriculture

Updated on 09th February, 2024, By Akshay Pokharkar
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Electric Tractors – The Future of Indian Agriculture
Traditional tractors are the biggest diesel guzzlers, harming the environment and human health. The solution is substituting them with electric tractors, which are economical, cost-effective, pollution-free, and noise-free.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Tractors are the must-have farm machinery in Indian agriculture. They are versatile and can be used in a wide range of agricultural operations. They also help save time and labour to increase overall farm productivity.

Today, India is the largest tractor market globally, accounting for one-third of global tractor production. The domestic sales of tractors hit 9.44 lakh units in the financial year 2022-23. In the Quarter 1 (Q1) of FY 2023-24, the domestic sales grew by 4.19% to reach 98,438 units.

However, the increasing usage of tractors is causing a lot of stress on the already polluted air of India. Tractors are one of the biggest diesel guzzlers in agriculture. According to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), tractors in India consume 8% of the overall fuel resources in the country, which is nearly equal to the fuel consumed by all its buses.

The internal combustion of the diesel fuel that takes place inside the tractor engine emits a large amount of Greenhouse gases (GHGs) like Nitrogen Oxide (NOx), Carbon Monoxide (CO), and Particulate Matter (PM). As per ICCT estimates, in 2020, diesel tractors emitted about 25 kilo tonnes (KT) of PM and almost 300 KT of NOx. The emission is harmful to the environment, agriculture land, and human health.

The government of India and tractor manufacturers have taken various measures to control the emission effects of tractors and make agriculture practice a more sustainable practice. One is the mandatory implementation of the Trem IV emission norms from January 2023 for tractors above 50 HP. The other is the manufacturing of electric tractors.

What are Electric Tractors?

Unlike diesel tractors, electric tractors are powered by rechargeable lithium batteries. It means these batteries can be recharged like any other electronic gadget and reused again. It is not only environmentally friendly but also cost-effective and economical. It is because diesel tractor engines require a complete rebuild after 6000 hours of operations, entailing high costs. But an electric tractor can run for 5 – 10 years, saving considerable cost.

The manufacture of electric tractors in India started with Sonalika Tractors – the leading tractor manufacturer of India – manufacturing the country's first field-ready electric tractor, Sonalika Tiger Electric. The other notable electric tractor manufacturers in India are AutoNXTCellestial E-MobilityHAV Tractors, TI Clean Mobility, and Escorts Tractors.

Why Electric Tractors Are Future of Indian Agriculture?

Electric tractors are the future of Indian farming as they are one of the most important means to achieve sustainable agriculture in India. They offer many benefits, like being environment friendly, cost-effective, and economical.

Green Farming

Green farming is an agriculture practice involving using environment-friendly inputs like green manure and adopting sustainable agriculture practices like organic farming. Electric tractor usage in Indian agriculture can further cause green farming by releasing pollutant-free and noise-free farm machinery.

Health Benefits

Not only Indian cities but rural India is also affected by deteriorating air quality. According to the 2022 State of Global Air Report, premature deaths due to polluted air are three times as common in rural India vis-à-vis urban India. The use of electric tractors can help prevent air pollution and the ensuing loss of human lives in rural India.

Besides, using electric tractors is also less damaging to human ears as they are noise-free. Operating a diesel tractor produces approximately 100 decibels of noise, posing a risk of hearing damage within 15 minutes of exposure.

Cost-effective

Another benefit of using an e-tractor for cultivation is that they are economical and cost-effective. Though electric tractor prices are double the diesel tractor price, the cost of owning and operating e-tractors for 10 years is the same as diesel tractors. This is because e-tractors are 90% more efficient in converting thermal energy to mechanical energy as compared to the 30% efficiency of diesel tractors.

Less Maintenance

Electric tractors demand less maintenance since they operate without a traditional engine. As a result, fewer components are prone to damage and need repairs or replacements. It enables farmers to save extra money and, at the same time, keeps them worry-free about the durability of electric components.

Increased Financial Stability for Farmers

Diesel tractors relying on fossil fuels are susceptible to frequent price fluctuations as geopolitical events like the ongoing conflict in the Middle East influence them. Electric tractors, however, are immune to this volatility risk when it comes to charging costs, offering farmers increased financial stability.

Precision Agriculture Integration

Electric tractors can be integrated with precision agriculture technologies, enabling farmers to optimize their operations. This includes GPS-guided navigation, variable rate applications, and data analytics. Precision agriculture can enhance productivity and resource efficiency in Indian farming.

Potential for Local Manufacturing

The production of electric tractors could stimulate local manufacturing industries, providing economic opportunities and creating jobs within the country.

Top 5 Electric Tractor Models in India

Today, many models of electric tractors are available in India, but few are quite popular among Indian farmers. These are:

Sonalika Tiger Electric

Sonalika Tiger Electric is the country's first field-ready electric tractor. It comes with an 11 HP engine and a PTO HP of 9.46. It has oil-immersed brakes for effective braking and a lifting capacity of 540 RPM.

Cellestial 27 HP

Cellestial 27 HP is a mini tractor with a 27 HP engine to complete any farming task. It has a battery of 150 Ah, and the normal charging time is 6 hours, whereas fast charging takes 2 hours. It has a PTO speed of 540 – 900 RPM to operate any PTO-driven implement.

HAV 55 S1

HAV 55 S1 tractor is another electric tractor which is popular among farmers. It has a 51 HP engine that produces the maximum power output when it rotates at 3000 RPM. The PTO HP of the tractor is 46 HP, and it comes with a lifting capacity of 2200 kg.

Autonxt X20H4

Autonxt X20H4 is a 4-wheel drive tractor which delivers a power output of 20 HP. It has a maximum torque of 160 Nm to pull implements. It comes with an oil immersed brakes and power steering. The tractor's battery is 15 kWh with a normal charging time of 8 hours and a fast-charging time of 2 hours.

Cellestial 55 HP

Cellestial 55 HP tractor comes with a 55 HP engine. It has PTO speeds of 540 RPM and MPTO. It has a 400 Ah battery with a normal charging time of 5 hours and a fast-charging time of 1 hour.

Conclusion

While the future of electric tractors in Indian agriculture seems promising, challenges such as the development of charging infrastructure, addressing concerns about range limitations, and ensuring affordability for farmers need to be addressed for widespread adoption. Collaboration between the government, private sector, and research institutions will be crucial in overcoming these challenges and promoting the transition to electric tractors in Indian agriculture.

Akshay Pokharkar
Published By
Akshay Pokharkar
Akshay holds a B.Tech in agriculture engineering from Dr Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth. He is an expert in tractors and implements. With over 6 years of experience in the tractor industry, he is known to simplify even the most complex technical things. An avid YouTuber by choice, he is currently working as a Senior Content Manager.
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