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John Deere buys Kreisel Electric, plans to electrify its lineup

John Deere has been working to electrify its vehicle lineup for years, but the effort is expected to accelerate now with the acquisition of Kreisel Electric.

In 2016, John Deere unveiled its first next-gen electric tractor prototype and it has been slowly working to develop battery-electric work vehicles since then.

Now the company is accelerating its electrification plans through an important acquisition.

Kreisel Electric is a small Austria-based startup known for its impressive electric vehicle conversions like a VW e-Golf with a 55 kWh battery pack, a $1 million classic Porsche 910, and a few electric vehicles for Arnold Schwarzenegger: a custom all-electric Mercedes G-Class and an all-electric Hummer.

Today, John Deere announced that it acquired a majority stake in Kreisel:

That’s why John Deere has acquired a majority interest in an Austrian company that specializes in renewable battery energy. Kreisel Electric, Inc., develops high-density, high-durability electric battery modules and packs, and has developed a charging infrastructure platform (CHIMERO) that uses the company’s patented battery technology.

Pierre Guyot, senior vice president of John Deere Power Systems, commented on the announcement:

John Deere is committed to a future with zero emissions propulsion systems and is investing in and developing technologies for batteries as a sole- or hybrid-propulsion system for vehicles. Kreisel specializes in battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, which use chemical energy stored in rechargeable battery packs, with no secondary source of propulsion.

The company didn’t elaborate in detail about new electric vehicles and tools coming, but Guyot did say that in “the very near future” Deere’s turf equipment, compact utility tractors, small tractors, compact construction vehicles, and some road-building equipment would rely “solely on batteries as a power source.”

Guyot also said that John Deere said it is looking to also get into charging infrastructure to support their upcoming EVs:

Charging stations will also be key to customer adoption of electrification. We recognize that our customers will need both stationary and mobile fast-charging solutions.

They also believe that the timing is good with declining battery prices.

Guyot said:

Electrification is a key enabler for automation and autonomy and helps us generate more customer insights to reduce operating costs. We also know that over the next 3 to 5 years, battery prices are expected to decline and greater availability of battery charging stations will make it increasingly convenient to have battery-electric vehicles. We believe that as battery-electric vehicle costs come down, our customers will increasingly want battery-powered machines.

However, they haven’t announced any specific new electric products or timelines.

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