"E" Model Deere Means "Electricity"

E-Premium models carry on-board AC alternator.

Published on: Jan 17, 2008

The "E" badge is about all the difference you'll see on the new 7430 and 7530 E Premium tractors John Deere is developing in Europe. Inside, however, you'll find what likely is the shape of things to come -- even on your farm.

In place of a flywheel, the E models carry a 20KW AC generator to provide power to operate bi-directional cooling fans (used to clear radiators of dust and chaff from the cab), air-conditioning compressors, coolant pumps and other systems – not excluding a future look at electrically-powered implement motors. Right now, the E models are aimed at the development of a more efficient tractor, but Deere officials say the next step certainly includes taking excess AC power to run sprayers, spreaders, air compressors on air-seeders – you name it.

John Deere is introducing a new E-Premium series tractor in Europe that sports a new 4 valve per cylinder, common-rail diesel engine and a 20KW alternator to run engine accessories and plug-in power tools.

The E project just won Deere a Gold Medal for innovation at Agritechnica in Hannover, one of the world's largest farm equipment shows.

Advantages of the "E" power management system include fuel savings of three to five percent (in internal company tests) and a 10 horsepower boost to power take off ratings over similar 180- to 200-horsepower 7430 and 7530 six-cylinder tractors without the E system. Officials say the fuel savings "is small but significant" – particularly when you look at diesel fuel prices ranging from $3 per gallon in the United States to just under $6 per gallon equivalents in Europe.

The crankshaft-driven generator on the E models – 10 of which will be built this summer for testing, and full production will be available in Europe by early 2009 – provides 12 volts at 300 amps, and provide two outlets on the rear of the machine rated at 230 VAC, 50 Hz (European standard frequency) and 16 amps, and 400 VAC, 50 Hz and 16 amp. Obviously the engine accessories don't require all the output of the 20KW generator, so the excess power output is now being promoted for use of powered hand tools such as drills, saws, air compressors, welders etc.

This decal and some paint treatment is the only difference one sees on John Deere's new E-Premium 7400 Series tractors when comparing it with a normal Premium model. The "E" denotes a power management system that includes an on-board generator operating in place of a flywheel.

The next step

The true jewel of the engineering, however, is what Deere engineers call "the next step" – and that includes one-wire power for implement motors and controls directed by the ISOBUS (globally standardized electronic interface) built into every new tractor.

The one-wire system is of particular interest in Europe, where environmental and safety standards make high-pressure hydraulic systems and extensive rotating component systems the subject of on-going official and activist scrutiny. The system could be of great interest in the U.S., too, however, because of its ability to reduce field maintenance, weight and heat.

In addition to reducing the effects of power-robbing accessories on the engine, the new management system allows quicker warm up of a cold diesel engine, since the infinitely-variable fan runs only when necessary. Also, the air-conditioner can run at its maximum speed with the tractor operating at slightly over idle. In Europe, where tractors are used to transport bulk commodities instead of highly-taxed semi-trailers, the system also allows tractors with air brakes to run the air compressor only when pressures fall below minimum levels.

This power train of a new European Rausch fertilizer spreader includes a pair of 400 VAC 3-phase electric motors driving the spreader impellers. Such a system goes hand-in-hand with Deere's new E-Premium tractor series which offers on-board AC power.

For over-the-road transport, the new energy management system allows the tractor to roll from zero to road speed from a 1,250 rpm launch, instead of the usual 1,700 rpm starting point. Increased available torque at low speeds means quicker recovery from stops, with less fuel consumption and less heat load on the tractor's cooling system. European tractor manufacturers are designing for 35 mph transport speeds.

A key component to this system is an electronic power electronics box (coolant-cooled) which monitors engine speed, temperatures, charge-air temperature, coolant and oil temperatures and load to send directions to the various affected components of the engine and transmission. The "box" is also responsible for much quicker engine response to field loads such as hills or heavier soils when pulling draft implements.