First commercial “driver-optional” electric tractor by Monarch

Monarch Smart Electric Tractor Driver Optional
Monarch's MK-V electric tractor can operate with or without a driver. Images © Monarch Tractor/Nvidia

California startup Monarch Tractor has launched the all-electric MK-V Founder Series. The result of two years of development, the Monarch electric tractor has been developed to help in the decarbonization of farming operations. The company mentions that replacing a comparable diesel tractor with one of its models is equivalent to removing 14 combustion-engine passenger vehicles from the road.

The MK-V can serve as a farm tractor or general utility vehicle. It delivers 52-kW (70 hp) of peak motor power to the tractor’s four wheels. It boasts nine forward gears and three reverse, with clutch control. The battery pack has an estimated run time of 14 hours, depending on the farm conditions and how it’s used. And for those days that require operations to extend into the night, the swappable battery makes 24-hour operation a reality.

The MK-V electric tractor also provides a robust platform for next-generation smart implements with ag-standard hitch and hydraulics. In addition to being a Cat I/II three-point hitch, the MK-V compact tractor comes standard with hydraulic top and side links. The MK-V tractor controls were designed with the driver in mind. Ergonomic and easy-to-use, the drive-by-wire system with implement joystick, hand throttle, foot pedals, and adjustable seat make Monarch accessible to any and every tractor driver.

Power source for tools and equipment on the farm

With exportable power, the MK-V electric tractor becomes a portable generator – providing you with power in every block on your farm. Power your harvest lights or weld a broken gate or fence out in the field. With Monarch, clean, quiet power is wherever your tires can take you.

Safety features

The MK-V tractor features collision prevention, human detection, and PTO protection. The tractor will stop moving if it detects a human within five feet of the tractor. Also, the PTO will automatically shut off if the system detects a human limb within one foot of the PTO.

Monarch Tractor Safety Features
The MK-V tractor features collision prevention, human detection, and PTO protection – it stops moving if it detects a human within five feet.

Technology under the hood

The MK-V boasts six Nvidia Jetson Xavier NX system-on-modules along with two 3D cameras and six imaging cameras. This allows the vehicle to provide driver-assist or undertake pre-programmed operations without a driver. It even has a shadow mode where it follows the worker at a safe distance.

The tractor’s systems can also gather and analyze daily crop data for “real-time implement adjustments, long-term yield estimates, current growth stages and other plant/crop health metrics.”

The MK-V has a base weight of 5,200 lb (2,360 kg) and a towing capacity of 5,500 lb (2,500 kg). It has a hitch lift capacity of 1,650 lb (750 kg) and a turning radius of just under 9 ft (2.9 m). It features dual-band Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity modules. LoRa radio and over-the-air software updates are supported to keep the system up to date.

Monarch Smart Electric Tractor Farming
The MK-V smart electric tractor could be the future of farming.

Pricing and availability

Launched to the public in 2020, the MK-V combines electrification, automation, and data analysis to help farmers reduce their carbon footprint, improve field safety, streamline farming operations, and increase their bottom lines.

In a press release dated December 16, 2022, Monarch Tractor announced a price increase to the newly released tractor starting January 14, 2023.  The MK-V is now priced at MSRP $88,998. The company mentions that the price increase has been put into effect based on global inflationary pressure, rising commodity costs, and supply chain demands driving increased component pricing.

Source: Monarch Tractor