Monarch Tractor, the world's first electric, driver-optional smart-tractor manufacturer has closed a $20-million Series A funding round. The round includes global industrial equipment manufacturers and automotive suppliers.
The investments come from Musashi Seimitsu Industry Co. Ltd., a Japan-based global auto parts company, CNH Industrial (Case IH, New Holland Agriculture and Steyr) and VST Tillers Tractors Ltd., an Indian tractor and implement company. Monarch Tractor, headquartered in Livermore, California, was founded in 2019.
"The food ecosystem is ready for transformation, with farmers demanding sustainable tools that can increase efficiency and farm profitability," says Praveen Penmetsa, CEO of Monarch Tractor. The investments validate the Monarch Tractor platform, he adds.
Monarch tractors look similar to a compact tractor but are narrower and slightly longer. Their electric drivetrain can provide 40 hp (30 kilowatts) of continuous power and short-duration peak power up to 70 hp (55 kw). The PTO and 3-point hitch are comparable to a diesel tractor. Its hydraulic capacity equals or exceeds conventionally powered units of the same size. Because it is electric, the Monarch has two times as much torque as comparable units.
The tractor is essentially a hub for data collection (analyzing 240 gigabytes of data every day it operates) and observation, and is even a source of remote electrical power. It can be a sprayer, a cultivator and a drone for recharging other units while uploading information collected from field operations. The Monarch can create alerts, provide actionable information, as well as give managers close insight into what is going on in a given field. For example, the Monarch incorporates a micro weather station that, among climatic conditions, monitors wind speed. The platform can be programmed to cease spraying operations if local wind conditions exceed preplanned or regulatory parameters.
A large battery with 10 hours or more of operating time powers Monarch tractors. Under high workloads, the battery is designed to give owners four to five hours of operation. The battery system lasts 10 years, according to Monarch. A battery recharge requires up to five hours. To manage charging times, Monarch sells an optional swappable battery pack. The swap can be completed by one person in 10 minutes.
"Monarch is pioneering tractor technology that incorporates electrification, autonomous use and data management. These are three of the key pillars supporting sustainability, productivity and profitability, both for CNH Industrial and for our farming customers," says Scott Wine, CEO of CNH Industrial.
Electrification is gaining momentum across the heavy-equipment sector, CNH tells DTN/Progressive Farmer. Key benefits are reduced CO2 emissions, better controllability, instantaneous high torque, noise reduction and operator ease. "When used with renewable-energy sources, it is the only technology with the potential to be zero carbon from well to wheel and also carbon neutral from tank to wheel," CNH says.
Monarch has earned significant acclaim -- a 2021 BIG Innovation Award, 2020 Tractor of the Year in the AgTech Breakthrough Awards, one of World Ag Expo's Top 10 Best New Products and from Fast Company's "Best World-Changing Ideas: North America, Energy and Food."
Dennis Muilenburg, investor and adviser at Monarch Tractor, says: "It's an exciting time for ag tech with the powerful convergence of traditional farming and cutting-edge technology."
Compact utility tractors represent an annual market of 1.4 to 1.5 million units. Utility tractors are a fast-growing segment in the United States, where compact units are typically used more than 100 days per year. Monarch looks for its initial demand to come from California and other northwestern U.S. markets.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
-- Monarch Tractor: www.monarchtractor.com
For earlier stories about Monarch Tractor go to:
-- Follow Dan Miller on Twitter @DMillerPF
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