Webasto powers electrical
conversion of tractors in
civil engineering sector

Full size electric tractors are still a rare breed, especially in the agricultural sector. The intense duty cycle of many tractor applications, limitations in access to charging infrastructure as well as high upfront investment will prevent many farmers from buying them. Market research reveals that only 5 percent of tractors sold globally in 2030, are expected to be operating fully battery electric. As always, there are certain niches where tractor electrification already makes sense today.


The emission free construction site, driven by governmental legislation and incentives, is such an exception and The Netherlands is leading the way in Europe. Dutch Develon (former Doosan) distributor Staad and its subsidiary ECE, already had electrification experience with the conversion of excavators. The company has now applied this experience to convert a Fendt 700 Vario into a fully electric tractor for Fendt distributor Agromec. It is no longer a Fendt model, the tractor is now called an Agromec 700 Vario. 

Capitalize on lessons learned

Just like with the excavators, this is an electrical conversion of a traditional combustion vehicle. That means that the diesel engine and fuel tank are taken out and replaced by an electrical motor and batteries. The original drivetrain, including gearbox, PTO shaft and hydraulics are untouched to ensure that the conversion remains cost-efficient and economically viable. Additional benefits are that the operating characteristics and serviceability remain similar to its diesel equivalent.

Versatile Powerpacks

The Powerbox 140 consists of 4 Webasto standard batteries with a total capacity of 140kWh. This 2000-kilogram Powerbox 140 is equipped with an internal water/glycol based thermal management system, based on Webasto components, that ensures that batteries are always within their optimal temperature operating range to ensure maximum performance and longevity. The system was developed by ECE in cooperation with Webasto and includes the super-efficient Webasto High Voltage Heater


With the engine removed, the Powerbox 140 also functions as a counterweight. Under the hood of the tractor, there are installed two additional Webasto standard battery packs, so that the tractor can operate autonomously as well. Thanks to this smart option, the tractor can drop an empty Powerbox 140 and pick up a fully charged one with its hydraulically powered front linkage. 

Agromec 700 Vario tractor powerpack


With the electric tractor, ECE was confronted with new challenges, according to Thijs van Hal, R&D lead at ECE. “Tractors have a different type of regulation than excavators from a legal perspective. A tractor is legally a vehicle and not a construction machine and where electric trucks are not an option, you end up with tractors when supplying construction sites and on-site transport.” 


The Webasto components used for this conversion, batteries and thermal management, are certified for both on- and off-highway applications and meet the relevant electrical and functional ISO standard safety requirements. This reduces the testing and machine certification effort tremendously, resulting in a lower overall project risk and a quicker time to market. 


Several examples of the Agromec 700 Vario have already been built in the past two years and are used intensively on various emission-free construction projects. The machine can be acquired via Agromec and is in series production at ECE in The Netherlands. 

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