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Monarch Delivers First MK-V Autonomous Battery-Electric Tractors

by Edward Sanchez | 12月 02, 2022

Monarch MK-V TractorOn December 1, 2022, Monarch Tractor delivered its first MK-V full electric tractors to wine and spirits producer and distributor Constellation Brands, for use in its vineyards in California. 

The tractor represents the first fully electric, driver-optional autonomous tractor design to increase productivity and efficiency in agriculture, as well as reduce carbon emissions, and the effect of diesel exhaust emissions on crops. The Monarch's initial primary target markets are vineyards, and fruit/nut orchards. 

Monarch MK-V Tractor Cab Display

The Monarch began with the vision of bridging the gap between the economic imperative faced by farmers for profitability, while at the same time looking to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture. Its design was also shaped by the need in some developing markets for farmers to share equipment, and be able to focus on running their business, instead of spending that time driving a tractor. 

The pricing on the Monarch is approximately $71,000, as compared to approximately $45,000 for a conventional diesel equivalent. Although Monarch acknowledges the price premium, the company points out the advantages of the Monarch in operational costs from fuel savings, as well as the advanced telematics and data suite that is offered with the tractor, as well as the autonomous operation, which the company claims is not offered in similar-sized conventional equivalents. 

To maximize its compatibility with commonly used attachments and accessories, the Monarch MK-V comes equipped with a CAT I/II 3-point hitch with a lift capacity of 1,650 pounds, and a closed-center hydraulics system with a rated output of 19.8 gallons per minute.  

Utilizing Sunwoda pouch-style batteries, the Monarch offers exportable power for lighting or other needs without the noise and on-site emissions for a diesel generator. The company claims an average runtime on 14 hours on a full charge, and swappable batteries to allow for 24-hour operation. The motors have 70 hp peak, and 40 hp continuous output.  

In addition to a touchscreen display on the tractor, the Monarch's telematics suite includes both a desktop portal for data and task management, as well as a smartphone app. Whether in full autonomous mode, or being driven by a human driver, the suite tracks operational time, tasks completed, and live access to any of the tractor's eight on-board cameras (two 3D modules, six standard). Since high-speed road safety is not a critical consideration, the Monarch's vision system is camera-only. No LiDAR is used on the tractor. Robustness and simplicity was a critical consideration in the development of the tractor. 4G LTE connectivity is embedded in the tractor's system, which is powered by six NVIDIA Jetson Xavier NX SOMs (systems-on-module). 

Monarch MK-V Tractor AC Power Output

Monarch has received strategic investment from Tier-1 supplier Musashi Seimitsu Industry Co., CNH Industrial, and VST Tillers Tractors. Scale production of the Monarch MK-V is scheduled to commence in Q1 of 2023 at Foxconn's plant in Lordstown, Ohio. Initial units were built at Monarch's corporate headquarters in Livermore, California.  
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