Gridtractor has launched from stealth to develop charging technology, fleet electrification, and energy management services for electric tractors and heavy farm equipment. Gridtractor will help farmers integrate electric charging and vehicle to grid (V2G) into their operations to strengthen the power grid with its smart energy platform.
In addition, the company estimates farms can save 55-75% on fuel costs by going electric, and up to 90% by supplying stored power to irrigation pumps and to the grid. The company’s first customer, Terranova Ranch, will utilize the Gridtractor Planning Model Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) to determine the best deployments for electric tractors and integration with existing electrical infrastructure at dozens of irrigation pump sites and solar arrays.
As a partially-owned subsidiary of Polaris Energy Services, whose management team contributed to seed financing for the new company, Gridtractor will leverage existing on-farm electrical services with new charging and monitoring technology to manage electric tractor operations, including automated reports that alert operators and the Gridtractor Operations Center when something is not working correctly.
The company is developing control hardware and SaaS that will help farmers manage fleets of tractors, irrigation pumps, and solar arrays to optimize the economics of energy production, consumption, and storage. The company is launching operations in California initially to take advantage of extensive electrical infrastructure on farms, lucrative incentives for electrification, and cutting-edge pilots for vehicle grid integration (VGI).
As part of the company's turn-key service offering, Gridtractor will provide farm operators with site and project managers to assist with implementation and liaison with utility companies and electrical contractors to ensure the technology is deployed and operating efficiently. Like several Charging-as-a-Service models for electric bus fleets, Gridtractor CEO David Meyers sees excellent potential for this type of solution in the agricultural community.
While observing the rapid acceleration in EV adoption, especially in the heavy-duty sector, we realized that agriculture is an underserved industry in electrification. And considering the emissions generated by one tractor, we believe it is critical to help farmers adopt this technology faster and more seamlessly.
The longest pole in the tent for transportation electrification is building out the infrastructure to support a massive increase in demand on the grid, and with the vehicle-to-grid component of our solution, we can essentially turn an electric tractor into a giant battery. We estimate that on top of the field savings, farmers can save 15 percent for smart charging and Vehicle-to-Load/Vehicle-to-Grid applications, for a total of 90% cost savings that will be supplemented by lower maintenance and repair costs.—David Meyers