STEYR Unveils Hybrid Concept Tractor

The design of the Konzept hybrid tractor focuses on the use of zero-emission powertrains, innovative drive solutions and a futuristic operator environment.

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CNH Industrial's agricultural brand STEYR unveiled its Konzept hybrid tractor concept at Agritechnica 2019. The aim is to combine innovative technologies in a unique, sustainable and potentially zero emission package, the company says. 

A modular hybrid electric drive powers the tractor. It is comprised of a highly efficient diesel engine, a generator and five individually controlled electric motors. 

The tractor was designed by CNH Industrial's Design Center, which has worked on several concept vehicles for the company including the methane powered wheel loader debuted earlier this year at bauma

The hybrid tractor architecture.The hybrid tractor architecture.

Hybrid technology

STEYR and sister brand FPT Industrial's engineering teams worked together on the drive system for the Konzept tractor. FPT says it developed a completely new propulsion concept for the machine which focuses on efficiency, performance, productivity and sustainability. 

A serial hybrid approach was utilized consisting of a compact NEF45 4.5 L, 4-cylinder engine delivering 150 kW peak power and 250 kW peak power in hybrid boosting mode. Typically for this tractor range a 6-cylinder engine would be used. FPT downsized the engine, however, to improve fuel consumption—fuel savings of up to 10% are possible—and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2).

The engine works at optimal speed as an energy generator, charging the tractor's batteries. It is disconnected from the wheels, with traction provided by four independent electric motors installed directly into the wheel hubs. 

Integrating motors into the wheel hubs lowers the tractor's overall center of gravity, improving stability and maneuverability due to individual wheel torque deployment and four wheel steering. Individual wheel suspension provides a smoother ride for operators while large glazed windows with integrated cameras provide better visibility and safety.

The independent wheel hub motors allow superior traction control, enable energy recovery when braking, and reduce brake and tire wear.

Integration of individual motors and incorporation of a separate suspension and steering system results in four fully independent wheels which are electronically controlled, thereby improving safety, grip, handling and response.

An electric boost feature is fed by the tractor's central battery to improve dynamic behavior and provide instantaneous extra-torque needed in heavy tasks.

This system enables highly efficient, electric continuously variable drive for optimal energy flow with reduced power losses. There are fewer moving parts in the system due to the elimination of the mechanical transmission and hydraulic components, which aids the reduction in power losses, as well as lowers vehicle maintenance. 

Tractor hydraulics as well as the PTO are electrically driven. Electrified implements can also be powered by either a high voltage (700V) or low voltage (48V) connector. 

The tractor's battery pack is modular, which FPT says is a key feature to guarantee pure-electric autonomy in all applications; it will also play a central role in future electrification projects. 

Operational benefits

The concept tractor offers the ability to drive in pure electric mode which enables zero-emission operation. Both exhaust gas and noise are eliminated when in this operating mode, benefitting use in municipal environments as well as near livestock or confined spaces. 

Immediately available torque from the drive system provides improved handling of the tractor. It also ensures near-instantaneous vehicle response which is beneficial when working in variable conditions such as baling or road transport, the company says. 

The operator environment is enhanced thanks to individual wheel suspension for a smoother ride, and large glazed windows with integrated cameras ensure better visibility and safety.


A mobile digital farm office

The STEYR Konzept features innovative precision farming technologies: a drone equipped with crop sensors flies ahead of the tractor during field work, transmitting real-time data back to the cab, meaning operating parameters can be modified based on actual field conditions. 

A mobile, digital farm office empowers operators to undertake farm management directly from the cab thanks to an integrated display on the right-hand window. A head-up display on the windscreen projects all key vehicle parameters for instant viewing. 

CNH Industrial says the STEYR Konzept lays the foundations for the future of tractor design, thanks to a fresh look at the technical constraints through the three lenses of efficiency, sustainability and comfort.

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